Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Cockroaches hitch ride into US with troops

While they have their backs turned, fighting wars in Asia and the Middle East, it seems that United States troops have allowed a counter-invasion of their country by marauding legions.

An infestation of the Turkistan cockroach, which can carry diseases such as typhoid and dysentery, can be blamed on a handful of the insects hitching a ride with soldiers returning from the war zone, experts say.

Now the fast-breeding cockroaches, which are adept at dodging pesticides, have spread from California to New Mexico, threatening mayhem further afield as they seek new territory.

”It started with soldiers and equipment coming back from the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, but it’s still happening and they’re spreading to other areas,” said Philip Koehler, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Experts say that the Turkistan cockroach, native to many countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, is particularly troublesome. Its natural habitat is the desert, of which there are large areas in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. It breeds quickly at room temperature and, according to Koehler, is not timid.

”They like to live around the outside of houses, but also to invade them,” he said.

While the spread of the Turkistan is his biggest worry, Koehler warned that warmer areas of the US are also under threat from other newly imported species such as the Madagascar hissing roach, the lobster roach and the orange spotted roach.

”We have 69 species of cockroaches in the US and 29 of them were brought in from other countries,” he said. — guardian.co.uk

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

Life-saving free train travel offered to domestic abuse victims in...

A pioneering railway scheme in the UK is helping domestic violence victims to escape their abusers by providing them with free travel to reach refuge

Oral submissions to inquiry on local government elections start next...

The hearings will be open to the media and the public, under strict level-three regulations

Education employees queue for Covid jabs, but some may have...

People who have had Covid-19 in the past 30 days or who have had a flu shot in the past 14 days will be vaccinated at a later date

Mabuyakhulu: I took the R1-million, but not from Savoi

The former ANC provincial treasurer says the donation was used to pay for its conference in 2008
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×