Cold-resistant cockroaches found in Manhattan

Credit: Lyle Buss, University of Florida
This male (left) and female of the species Periplaneta japonica were found on New York City’s High Line iin 2012.
Credit: Lyle Buss, University of Florida

Watch out New York: These cockroaches can walk in a winter wonderland.

An Asian cockroach that can survive cold climates was found for the first time in the U.S. along Manhattan’s High Line, according to a study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

“This is a winter-ready cockroach,” explained Rutgers University biologist Jessica Ware, one of the study’s authors.

A few dozen dead cockroaches were collected by a city exterminator from the High Line last year and sent to a two labs before being passed to Ware. Study co-author Dominic Evangelista, who is working toward a doctorate in Ware’s lab, matched the insect’s genes with the Japanese roach, found in parts of Asia.

Unlike the American and German cockroach varieties New Yorkers have come to know — and probably not love — the Periplaneta japonica can survive in freezing temperatures.

Researchers are still uncertain if the insects can survive dirty snow usually lining city sidewalks after winter storms. But 20 years ago, when Japanese researchers submerged some of the insects in driven snow for three hours, the roaches were up and walking six minutes later.

And while this means the roaches can stay outside of apartments in the winter, they’ll also be able to lay eggs outside, Ware said, which ultimately means more roaches to contend with.

Ware thinks the insects might have come to the city by “hitchhiking” on ornamental plants along the High Line. She said the roaches, like other invasive species, could eventually take over natives.

“Their ability to withstand these temperature conditions increases their ability to compete with other species,” Evangelista added.

Ware and other researchers will study the city’s population of roaches when the weather warms. She said it’s too soon to tell if these beasts can best the city’s current pest-control measures.

“We don’t really know enough about this cockroach to understand what measures we have that will work against them,” Ware said.

City exterminators are also wary of the insects.

“There are a few concerns with them,” said Tom King, an exterminator with M&M Pest Control. For one, they might not respond to the same granular bait that are used to lure and kill other cockroaches, he said.

“We don’t really know if they are something that needs to be controlled yet,” King added.

Urban etymologist Gil Bloom said the city is always getting new species of insects.

“It shows how cosmopolitan New York is,” said Bloom, also the president of Standard Pest Management, a family-owned exterminator in the city.

As for Ware, she finds the roaches fascinating.

“But I still think they’re gross,” she said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.


Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…


LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.


Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…


Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…


If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…


Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.


Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.


Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…


World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.


The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…


Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.


Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…