Cockroaches Are Evolving to Avoid Traps and Pesticides

May 24, 2013 | Andy Cush

Bad news for anyone who’s ever dealt with a roach-infested apartment: a group of scientists has discovered a strain of cockroaches that is no longer tolerant of glucose, the better to avoid our sugar-laced roach motels. According to a (thoroughly disgusting) BBC News video, the evolved bugs’ taste buds that would ordinarily respond to bitter foods also respond to glucose, and as a result, foods that would taste sweet to other animals taste bitter.

In the study, scientists offered a group of normal cockroaches and a group of glucose-averse cockroaches both peanut butter and jelly. The normal cockroaches ate the PB and J in equal amounts, while the evolved roaches swarmed the Peanut Butter, even going so far as to spit out the jelly after tasting it.

“By avoiding glucose, they can avoid our bait, which couple glucose with an insecticide,” says Dr. Coby Schal. “These cockroaches are then at a huge selective advantage, because we can’t kill them with glucose-containing bait.”

(Photo: 99of9/Flickr)