Researchers have often remarked that cockroaches might be the only living organism that would survive a nuclear strike, but it seems they may have undersold their initial assessment. Cockroaches are beginning to become immune to powerful insecticides, and they are passing that on to their offspring who may eventually become indestructible.
Researchers at Purdue University exposed German cockroaches, which are the most common household cockroach, to various insecticides of varying strengths.
“This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches,” said Michael Scharf, who led the study. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”
According to CNN, this was never an issue previously as exterminators would try different strengths and toxicities of poisons until they found what worked best to kill roaches.
If they are slowly becoming immune to traditional chemical poisons, it could mean that eventually the only other way to kill them would be the old fashion way — stomping on them. This six-month-long research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Throughout the study, researches visited three empty apartments in Illinois and Indiana over a six-month time span. The researchers used three different types of pesticides, with abamectin gel baits. If that pesticide successfully lowered the population of the infestation in one of the locations, they’d try the same pesticide in another location. The chosen pesticide worked well to kill the insects in one of the Illinois apartments, The Guardian reported.
However, when researchers used the same abamectin gel again, it had no effect on the cockroaches as they seemed to already be immune to that strain of poison.
“If you have the ability to test the roaches first and pick an insecticide that has low resistance, that ups the odds,” Scharf said in a press statement from the university. “But even then, we had trouble controlling populations.”
When looking towards the future, Scharf gave a troubling prediction. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”
Yup, that’s enough internet for one day.