Sunday, December 19, 2010

How Cockroaches Are Helping Farmers

Cockroaches are well known for their role as decomposers, but the Asian cockroach (Blattella asahinai) is actually helping Texas cotton farmers to reduce populations of cotton bollworms. In 2006, cotton farmers in Texas discovered these cockroaches in cotton fields. Recently, scientists found that these cockroaches eat cotton bollworm eggs, instead of the plants.
German and Asian cockroaches are almost identical. However, Asian cockroaches have longer and narrower wings and smaller egg cases. In addition, the German cockroaches live indoors, while Asian cockroaches like to burrow in mulch or compost outdoors.
Eventhough this cockroach preys on agricultural pests, scientists are hesitant to make recommendations to mass release this cockroach for the control of lepidopteran pests. Since the Asian cockroaches have been recorded to fly 120 feet in a single flight, they can easily fly into nearby residential neighborhoods. They are attracted to light-colored surfaces or brightly lit surfaces at night and they can enter into structures under doorways or window sills.

Asian Cockroach. Photo posted on USDA website:

No comments: