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


Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…


Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…


Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…


Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…


‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."


'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…


Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…


Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.


Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.


Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.


Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.


Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…


Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…


Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…


4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.