Cockroaches Evolve to Lose Sweet Tooth to Avoid Traps

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) — Add this to the list of reasons why cockroaches are going to rule the world one day.

In only a few years, several German populations of cockroaches have evolved to lose their sweet tooths, according to a new study published in the U.S. journal Science.

Many insecticide traps use sugary glucose as bait to lure these pests to their demise. Scientists discovered, in the late 1980s, cockroaches were coming back to kitchens after just visiting insecticide traps.

In less than five years, a short amount of time evolutionary speaking, the cockroaches the scientist studied stopped being attracted to sweets. According to the study, glucose now simulates “an aversive bitter compound receptor,” actually driving the roaches away from the traps.

Traps that used glucose bait stopped working. New types of bait have been introduced — a sort of arms race between man and insect. In the end though, it really might take a nuclear war to find out who wins.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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