Posts Tagged: cockroach
The drought may be driving more invasions by annoying insects such as ants, but not necessarily for the reasons one might expect.
Many people are asking, “Why are there so many more pests this year than usual?”
People may just be seeing more pests, according to an urban integrated pest management (IPM) advisor with UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“The overall abundance of pests probably hasn't changed and may even have decreased as compared to wet years,” said Andrew Sutherland, Ph.D., urban IPM advisor for the San Francisco Bay Area. “The real questions we should be asking are ‘Why are these pests appearing earlier in the year?' and ‘Why are the pests appearing all at once as opposed to throughout the year?'”
“This is also the first year we've seen dramatic changes made by residents due to mandated water-use restrictions,” Sutherland said. “Areas with frequent irrigation and lush landscapes aren't available this year so nuisance pests like outdoor cockroaches, ants and crickets are migrating from dry areas to seek moisture.”
This search may lead the thirsty pests to homes, garages or landscape that they haven't visited before. The IPM advisor used oriental cockroaches as an example.
“Oriental cockroaches are highly dependent on moisture and humidity and are not normally found indoors,” said Sutherland. “Outdoors, if you have an irrigation control box, leaky hosebib or water meter box, or a French drain system, that's where you'll find them. But if this water supply has been reduced or shut off, this population you didn't even know of – that may have existed for years – may crawl under doors or into foundation cracks and move indoors in search of water.”
To learn more about home, garden, turf and landscape pests and how to exclude them, visit the UC Integrated Pest Management website at http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/menu.house.html. For more advice on pest problems, contact the UC Master Gardeners at a local UC Cooperative Extension office http://ucanr.edu/County_Offices.
UC Master Gardeners http://mg.ucanr.edu/Become_a_Master_Gardener/Counties/?src=blog18995
Excluding seasonal nuisance pests http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu/PDF/PUBS/greenbulletin.2012.feb.pdf?src=blog18995
The discovery, announced this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may generate better conservation efforts for the imperiled woodpecker and may lead to far-reaching benefits in controlling cockroaches in urban environments, said Coby Schal, the Blanton J. Whitmire Professor of Entomology at North Carolina State University.
The scientific team characterized and synthesized the “mating scent” that the flightless female broad wood cockroach, Parcoblatta lata, releases to attract suitors. Only the males fly; the females live beneath decaying logs in the pine forests of southeastern United States.
The red-cockaded woodpecker, Picoides borealis, lives in old-growth pine forests, excavating nesting sites in large-diameter trees. Native to the southeastern United States, its population has now dwindled to 1 percent of its original population and it is extinct in at least three states, New Jersey, Maryland and Missouri. It is especially sensitive to habitat disturbances and loss of its main food supply. The broad wood cockroach constitutes more than 50 percent of its diet.
Because the cockroach pheromone attracts large numbers of male suitors – all males excellent flyers – the research should help determine whether there is enough woodpecker food in a given area.
"Besides serving as the main diet of the endangered woodpeckers, the adult male cockroaches occasionally infest houses after being attracted to porch lights and the flightless females and nymphs are brought into homes with firewood," Schal said. The synthetic compound could be used to deter cockroach populations.
Hailing the research as helping an endangered species, Leal pointed out that the newly identified sex pheromone may be used “to monitor the quality and suitability of foraging habitat of the red-cockaded woodpecker.”
“Most pheromones and compounds involved in insect chemical communication can be used as environmentally friendly tools for monitoring and controlling populations of agricultural pests and insects of medical importance,” Leal said. “I was particularly thrilled collaborating with my friend Coby Schal to identify this cockroach sex pheromone not only because the chemical structure was unusual and challenging, but also given the potential applications of this green chemical in conservation biology.”
Schal said that the synthetic version of the pheromone attracted a few other Parcoblatta species. It did not attract the Parcoblatta pennsylvanica. Because the compound attracted some Parcoblatta species and not others, this “tells us something about their evolutionary history,” Schal said. While Parcoblatta cockroaches are endemic to North America, the more commonly known pest cockroaches were introduced here from other countries.
The newly discovered pheromone is nicknamed “parcoblattalactone.” It is a previously unknown pheromonal structure, but one which “highlights the great chemical diversity that characterizes olfactory communication in cockroaches,” the scientists wrote in their abstract.
In addition to Schal and Leal, the co-authors of the PNAS paper were Dorit Eliyahu, Satoshi Nojima and Cesar Gemeno, all former members of Schal’s lab; Richard Santangelo, a NC State research specialist; and Shannon Carpenter, Frances Webster and David Kiemle of the State University of New York.
The research was funded by the Blanton J. Whitmire Endowment at NC State.