As the War in Iraq continues, a much quieter invasion has been taking place on U.S. soil.

American military personnel have unknowingly been bringing back
Middle Eastern cockroaches in their belongings and equipment. One such
globe-trotting insect, the Turkestan cockroach, is now settled in the
southwestern part of the U.S., according to Phil Koehler and Roberto
Pereira, both researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

This
hearty roach isn’t picky about its digs. Your sewer, water meter box,
potted plants and compost piles will do nicely. Under the kitchen sink
may feel like paradise to this war survivor.

But, as infomercial salesmen like to say, that’s not all.

You also may get to enjoy the company of the Madagascar hissing roach, the lobster roach and
the orange spotted roach, especially if you live in Florida.

Here, Koehler and Pereira watch as a
bearded drgaon lizard peers into a jar filled with Madagascar hissing
cockroaches at UF’s main campus in Gainesville. The entomologists recently warned Floridians and pest
control experts about the possibility of exotic roach infestations.
(AP photo/University of
Florida/IFAS/Thomas Wright)



“We have 69 species of cockroaches in the United States and 29 of them
were brought in from other countries,” said Koehler, an entomology
professor. “And now we have these new species being shipped into the
state.”

Pointing at a hefty, 3-inch-long Madagascar hissing roach, he noted
wryly: “People just won’t like having that around their house.”The
military isn’t solely to blame. Exotic pet traders import such bug
novelties. If a cockroach or two escape, they quickly multiply and make
themselves at home.

We can also blame the falling U.S. dollar.

James Tuttle, a longtime reptile enthusiast who now runs a roach-supply
company called blaberus.com that ships insects all across the country,
said roaches as reptile food “is probably the most popular thing going
these days.”

Crickets, which used to be a more popular reptile food source, are
noisy with all their chirping, smell bad when they die and don’t
reproduce quickly the way roaches do once a farm is up and running. And
they cost more.

“It’s the economy,” he said. “You can spend $50 a month buying
crickets, so that’s $600 a year, or you could spend $50 (on roaches)
and in six months, never have to buy food again.”

The roaches that don’t wind up as reptile chow must be celebrating
their unexpected good fortune. Irritated homeowners may not be so eager
to sing along with the below.

Go to following link for the entertaining cockroach band:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsUhMylZfnc

source URL: http://blogs.discovery.com/news_animal/2008/10/middle-eastern.html

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