Urban Legends Busted – The Exodus of Cockroaches

Former USSR flagDid you ever hear the story about the de-population of cockroaches in the countries of the former USSR?

It appears to be yet another one of those urban myths about pests but was reported by the Russian media at the beginning of this century. Basically, scientists and the public noted a sharp decrease in the overall cockroach population in cities and towns in the countries of the former USSR. This would have been good news for all, except for pest controllers like us maybe, but it seems the reports were not based on any proper scientific grounds.

oriental cockroachSome scientists were  so worried about the survival of the Oriental Cockroach, that they wanted it to be added to the endangered species list. Imagine finding a cockroach infestation in your home and instead of calling the pest controller, you have to call some conservationists, who will tell you not to change anything as your home is one of the last refuges of the rare and delicate Oriental Cockroach. A truly ridiculous situation!

Madagascan cockroach = the hissing cockroachResearching more on this topic, I came across another very interesting fact. It seems that the Moscow underground is experiencing an infestation of Madagascan “Hissing” Cockroaches. These bugs are quite big (they grow up to 8cm), hiss very loudly when disturbed – hence their name, but apart from that are completely harmless.

How did they get there? Well, it seems that it was in fashion to display hissing cockroaches in terrariums in companies and bars. Supposedly, cockroach races were also held. Maybe a few of the racing cockroaches managed to escape and found a new home far away from Madagascar, in the Moscow metro? However these guys are not much of a trouble, since they are still not winter-proven, can only survive in the warm subways, and are not known to cause any diseases and are actually quite slow.