May 272013
 

Cockroaches learn to avoid sugar

Scientists discovered that glucose sets off bitter taste receptors for roaches, causing them to avoid food that causes this reaction and therefore avoid the traps.

Humans are in a constant battle to keep cockroaches out of houses, apartments and office buildings. Traps are a key component in cockroach eradication strategies.

Scientists discovered that glucose sets off bitter taste receptors for roaches, causing them to avoid food that causes this reaction and therefore avoid the traps. Eventually the gene is passed down to their offspring and, as a result, more cockroaches are being born that will avoid glucose.

Scientists conducted tests on the roach tongue to examine the unexpected reactions that sugar stimulates on it. Typically, insects become resistant to the poison, or pesticide, in the traps, but this study revealed a completely new evolution: the roaches were avoiding the sugar, rather than the poison itself. While scientists cannot tell if the glucose actually tastes bitter to the roaches, they were able to determine that the taste sets off the bitter reaction in the roaches, causing them to avoid the glucose.

Contributed By Sonia Narula

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