Just like bacteria can evolve resistance to antibiotics, cockroaches can evolve resistance to insecticides.
A new study in Scientific Reports finds that when German cockroaches (the most common species of this household pest) evolve resistance to one formulation of insecticide, they can become resistant to other formulations as well. That means one unsuccessful pest control treatment can kick-start a cycle of unsuccessful pest control.
“Roaches, in their evolutionary history, have been exposed to everything out there, and so they’re multi-resistant today,” Michael Scharf, a Purdue University entomologist who worked on the study, says. (It’s okay if, at this point in the story, you want to scream aloud.)
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