This is very interesting, but I could probably deal better if they were using another name. Cockroaches are yucky!!!
Farmer's Helper: the Flying Cockroach
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 8:17 a.m. ET
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Loathed by homeowner and restaurateur, the
lowly cockroach is gaining some respect in the agricultural community.
Researchers in South Texas are beginning to sing the praises of a
flying cockroach from Asia that has shown a voracious appetite for
pests that plague farmers. They concede, however, that most people
would still be revolted at the sight of the helpful predator.
''It just brings out this visceral reaction in people,'' said Bob
Pfannenstiel, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture. ''There's too much cultural antipathy just because of
the other cockroaches.''
The other cockroaches include the German variety, a common breed that
doesn't fly and is often seen scattering from countertops when
kitchen lights are flicked on.
The Asian cockroach, Blattella asahinai, is almost identical in
appearance to the German variety and is also active at night. But
instead of leftover pizza, it feasts on insects harmful to crops.
They first appeared in Florida in 1986, and the species has expanded
its range ever since. They've migrated to southern Georgia, Alabama
and up the East Coast.
They ventured west into Texas in 2006, and became the most common
predator of bollworm eggs in the state's Rio Grande Valley region.
The bollworm threatens cotton, soybean, corn and tomato crops.
Pfannenstiel has counted as many as 100 roaches per square meter in
soybean fields. In one instance, he found 14 cockroaches on a single
leaf. None damaged the plants.
About 86 percent of the pests' eggs -- which Pfannenstiel and
colleagues placed out in fields to conduct research -- were gone
within 24 hours.
''I saw them feeding more than any other predator,'' Pfannenstiel
said. ''It was truly a spectacle. It was unbelievable, and I'm sure
they were feeding on more than eggs.''
The cockroach also eats the eggs of the beet armyworm -- a pest to
cotton, cabbage and a variety of other crops.
South Texas cotton producer Jimmy Dodson said he's thankful the Asian
cockroach is helping reduce pests in the region's cotton fields.
''The enemy of my enemy is a friend,'' said Dodson, whose family
farms 9,000 acres of cotton. ''When you have an ally in (reducing
pests) you're not going to run them off. We need all the help we can
Scientists have studied predator insects in agriculture for years but
not much research has been done at night. Pfannenstiel, who
researches beneficial insects, plans a long-term study to determine
whether the cockroach remains a predator all its life.
''Without studying what goes on at night, we would never have
observed some of our most important predators in cotton and
soybeans,'' he said. ''It's interesting that the cockroach could be a
benefit to farmers.''