Faster-Breeding Cockroach Taking Over in Southwestern U.S.
Turkestan species sold on Internet to people who buy living insects as food for reptiles
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Most people who find a cockroach in their home won't stop to determine its species, but, just for the record, the Turkestan cockroach is rapidly gaining a foothold in the southwestern United States.
This might be because Turkestan cockroaches produce far more eggs and have a shorter development period than oriental cockroaches, the species they are displacing, a new study suggests.
Turkestan cockroaches also have a faster life cycle and become adults after five molts, compared with seven to 10 molts for oriental cockroaches, according to the research, which was published in the December issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology.
The Turkestan cockroach was first reported in the United States at the Sharpe Army Depot in California and is now widespread in that state and cities in the southwest.
The species can be bought online and is popular among people who require living insects as food for pet reptiles since Turkestan cockroaches breed in large numbers, are easy to handle and are unable to climb smooth surfaces, the researchers said in a news release from the Entomological Society of America.
"It will be interesting to follow the spread of the Turkestan cockroach in the United States," said study authors Tina Kim and Michael Rust of the University of California, Riverside. "This may be the first time that an invasive urban pest species is widely distributed via the Internet and through the sale of live insects."
TexasInvasives.org has more about the Turkestan cockroach.