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An intriguing study has shown that we may have more in common with cockroaches than we’d like to think. Research led by Dr. Mark Stoeckle, a specialist in infectious disease at Rockefeller University, has shown that cockroaches in New York City tend to stick around the neighborhoods they were born in, and segregate themselves into groups of similar cockroaches.

“Once they move in, they don’t leave,” says Stoeckle. “This is a window into cockroach society, and it is very much like our own.” Dr. Stoeckle has analyzed 125 cockroach specimens that were shipped to his lab on the Upper East Side over the past year.

His research indicates that cockroaches from different parts of New York—such as the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and Roosevelt Island—belong to different gene pools. This makes sense: cockroaches don’t drive to visit other cockroaches in different boroughs too often; once they’re in a region, most of them will remain there. And it appears that even subtle environmental differences between different regions of New York City have caused cockroaches to evolve in slightly different ways. Some of these factors could be lighting, the availability of different foods, other invasive species, and different types of buildings.

There are around 4,600 distinct cockroach species that have been identified around the world (which means there are probably many more that have yet to be discovered). But there are only four main species that are pests in the US: the American cockroach, the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, and the Asian cockroach. The most common type in US homes is the German cockroach, which is slightly smaller and usually hides under furniture. It’s thought to have arrived in New York with the first few waves of European immigrants.

For any type of cockroach problem, give us a call so you can rest easy.

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