You have probably heard of the term “Flight or Fight Response” and not only associated with cockroaches. It is when an animal in a dangerous situation will either flee or stay to fight in order to survive. In both cases that animal is normally flooded with adrenaline after a perceived threat is assessed.
Perception of threats. That is what it comes down to. The interesting fact is that not all threats are perceived in the same way, or in the same manner. Many mammals use sight and smell to sense danger. In the world of cockroaches, they have evolved a different approach for that same tactic at survival.
When you normally see a cockroach, it’s when you turn on a light or move something they were hiding under. You would assume that it’s the light that makes them scurry away, as they are normally nocturnal in nature. That assumption is a bit incorrect; one, even I had made.
Cockroaches have a very stimulus based sense of perception when it comes to threats and a flight response; I haven’t seen any cases of a fight response, yet.
Along the legs of cockroaches are many different downwards pointing hairs, at the base of each hair on the leg there is a mechanoreceptor running next to a nerve. A mechanoreceptor sounds exactly like what it is. It’s a receptor that is activated by movement, which triggers a mechanical reaction. So when that hair is moved, it activates the mechanoreceptor to send a signal along the nerve; for the cockroach to run.
That hair can be moved by as little as the vibrations in a footstep across a room, or the air displaced by a foot coming down to stomp the cockroach. It is a very handy survival mechanism and has helped the cockroach to survive millions of years and many extinctions (think the dinosaurs). It appears that when that hair is moved by the appropriate stimuli, the response to flee is very fast, and somewhat not up to the cockroach. That’s why they move so fast when you see them, it’s like a knee-jerk reaction. Almost literally.
The really interesting part to me is that it’s not just you turning on the light when you walk into a room that makes a cockroach run. It is more based on that they sense you by the vibrations of your steps, which is what makes them run.
I would like to explain this best with an example of how amazing this tactic works for them.
Let’s say that you have a cockroach that lives in a very loud place such as around the bars on N Colleges Street in Uptown Charlotte. It’s has a ton of foot traffic, is most active at night when cockroaches are active, and is so loud that the air literally is vibrating with music and people. You would think that this little cockroach would be frantically scurrying everywhere under the constant stimuli moving their little leg hairs and making them run non-stop. That assumption would be a bit wrong as well.
Nerves and sense work a bit the same in both of us. If something is constantly stimulating a nerve signal, that nerve becomes less sensitive to activate to that stimuli over time. It’s why we can’t constantly feel the clothes on our skin. Think about it. Remember when you were little and you hated putting clothes on because you were constantly aware of them and their sensation? (I myself hated those little ends of the socks with the seam). Your body learned to stop being so sensitive to that stimuli and now’s it just background noise which you don’t process, otherwise you would go crazy.
It’s a bit the same for that cockroach on N College Street. He had to get used to his living space or he wouldn’t survive long because he was reacting to the wrong stimulus. If he constantly runs from everything, he’s not eating. He dies. If he runs from one wrongly perceived threat into an actual one. He dies.
This concept is important. You need to understand how a cockroach perceives an environment it lives in. The sense of perception which allows a cockroach to survive in such a place as your home is knowledge which can be used against it. This is just a facet of its life cycle. A professional pest control agent uses every bit of that knowledge for an insect that is a pest in a home; to effectively combat it.
If you are experiencing issues with roaches in your home, do yourself a favor, hire a professional with the knowledge to help you best.Tags: ants, centipedes, cockroaches, commercial pest control, earwigs, eco-friendly, fleas, Fort MIll SC, hornets, millipedes, mosquito control, mosquitoes, pest, pest control, pest control fort mill sc, pest control rock hill sc, residential pest control, Rock HIll SC, rodent control, rodents, silverfish, spiders, Tega Cay, ticks, wasps