Sexy ‘perfume’ lures cockroaches to their doom

Image: Cockroach courtship

In a finding that could revolutionize pest control, researchers have discovered the identity of the “perfume” produced by female cockroaches when they are feeling amorous. When the scientists set out traps wafting synthetic versions of the compound, male cockroaches came scurrying within seconds.

There hasn’t been a particularly effective way to attract the tenacious pests until now, so pesticide is currently the antiroach weapon of choice, according to author Coby Schal of North Carolina State University.

By themselves, cockroach traps probably won’t eradicate a whole cockroach population, but they should help with detecting and monitoring the insects, especially in places where even a single bug is too many, such as schools, operating rooms and food processing centers.

Schal also proposed that adding the pheromone to bait laced with insecticide might help reduce cockroach populations via the “domino effect.” Cockroaches have about two or three days after eating the poisoned food before they die. In the meantime they could pass along the insecticide via their feces, which baby cockroaches eat.

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