Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

May 30, 2013

Roaches evolve to avoid sugary bait

WASHINGTON — The pest control industry may have to go back to the drawing board after a discovery by researchers at North Carolina State University revealed that some cockroaches have evolved to avoid sugary bait.

The researchers have found that certain populations of German cockroaches have mutated to taste sweet as "bitter" in a defense mechanism against poison traps.

The experts, which include chief researcher Ayako Wada-Katsumata, published their findings in the journal Science.

Many roach traps are laced with glucose, a common form of sugar, to attract cockroaches. However, such traps are believed to have become less effective over the past 20 years.

Cockroaches are able to "sample" their food before eating through "taste hairs" around their mouths. The insects' nerve cells respond differently depending on the taste, generally eating sweet foods and avoiding bitter ones.

The researchers studied the nerve cell responses of more than 7,000 cockroaches by feeding them substances such as glucose and salt. They observed that some cockroaches found glucose to taste bitter, while others were only able to taste sweet.

University of Tokyo Prof. Kazushige Tohara, an agro-bioscience expert, said this is the first confirmation of how quickly the insects' taste sensors can evolve, even to the point of changing their behavior.

"The research results are quite interesting in that it could help us discover how their sense of taste evolved according to their food and environment," he said.

1
Text Only
Washington Post Features
  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 8, 2014

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 8, 2014

  • At many leading schools, football fails to make cut

    To my astonishment, 67 of the top 100 schools, ranked by participation in college-level tests, said they do not field a team, denoting a shift in American high school culture, at least in those schools that challenge their students most.

    April 7, 2014