Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Are You More Popular Than a Cockroach?

Published on January 25, 2013 by   ·   No Comments Pin It
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If you’re a member of Congress, the answer is a resounding “no.” A recent survey found that Congress is less popular than Brussels sprouts, used-car salespeople, root canals, and cockroaches.

Roach hair clips via etsy.com/shop/doodadsfrommars

I’m not sure about the root canals, but when it comes to cockroaches, all I can say is: Well, duh.

While members of Congress can’t seem to get past their partisan petulance long enough to agree on what day it is, cockroaches have many admirable attributes.

A study by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London found that cockroaches are social beings who “talk” to one another about food and prefer to dine in groups. When presented with two identical slices of bread, the roaches repeatedly gathered around the same slice, rather than splitting up.

Cockroaches can recognize individual members of their family, they live together in closely bonded groups, and they make collective decisions—about where to seek shelter, for instance—that will benefit the entire cockroach clan.

In an earlier study, researchers used computer simulations to show that, even with their tiny brains, insects have enough neural circuits to possess consciousness and that they may even be able to count. “Animals with bigger brains are not necessarily more intelligent,” says Professor Lars Chittka, one of the researchers.

If you’re still not ready to roll out the welcome mat for our cockroach friends, here are a few simple ways to keep unwanted bugs at bay. (If members of Congress invade your home, you’re on your own.)

  • Don’t provide roaches with food. Wash dishes promptly, store food in tightly sealed containers, and keep trash in bins with tight-fitting lids.
  • Remove roaches’ hiding places. Keep compost heaps as far from your house as possible, always wash out food containers before storing them for recycling, and don’t let old newspapers pile up.
  • Prevent roaches from entering your home by sealing up holes and cracks. Baby roaches can squeeze into a space as thin as a dime.
  • If you do see roaches, scatter whole bay leaves or catnip throughout your house. Iowa State University scientists found that catnip is 100 times more effective than DEET at repelling roaches.

For more tips on dealing kindly with insects and other uninvited wildlife, check out Making Kind Choices by PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. You may want to send copies to your members of Congress.

Written by Paula Moore

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