4. New Study Finds Cockroaches Evolving Taste Buds to Avoid Human Baits
A new study has found that cockroaches are evolving their taste buds to avoid human baits. With their new taste buds, the sweet-tasting baits now taste bitter to the cockroach, so that they end up avoiding the baits.
By the 1990s, pest-control companies had started to notice that some cockroaches were thriving even where the sweet baits were used.
It is common for insects to develop resistance to insecticides and thus be able to consume poisons without dying out. However, according to a study by the North Carolina State University, German cockroaches have simply stopped eating bait laced with glucose.
The study showed that the cockroaches have evolved their taste buds so that they taste sweet as bitter, and vice versa. Switching to other sugars, such as fructose, has led to the same results.
The new development could be because the cockroaches have learned to avoid sugary baits set by humans, or it may have other roots in the cockroach’s 350-million-year evolutionary history. Either way, the new study has important implications for pest control.