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GHP Windfall – More Roaches to Control

hissing roachesUF entomologists warn that several new species of cockroaches may one day become common in Florida and the rest of the southern U.S.

As if Floridians aren’t bugged enough by roaches, a growing interest among reptile enthusiasts to farm the insects as lizard food could result in several new cockroach varieties invading the state, University of Florida entomologists warn.

Phil Koehler and Roberto Pereira, researchers with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, wrote an article in last month’s Florida Pest Pro magazine, alerting pest control operators and homeowners to be on the lookout for several new species of cockroach.

Their main worry is the Turkestan cockroach, which has made itself at home in the southwest United States after being brought in by military personnel and equipment returning from the Middle East.

The other types of roach they say Floridians could soon be in danger of stepping on include the Madagascar hissing roach, the lobster roach and the orange spotted roach, none of which are known to be established in the state.

“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.”