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How Did The Invasive Turkestan Cockroach Wind Up In Homes And Buildings In Texas?

International commerce and travel have facilitated the spread of many insect pest species into new regions of the world. Although cockroaches are common house pests in the United States, most species that infest homes and buildings in the country originated from other parts of the world. For example, the non-native German cockroach is the most common roach pest found within homes in the United States. Despite having originated on another continent, the German cockroach has adapted to living and breeding solely within indoor structures in the US. The Turkestan cockroach is the newest non-native roach pest found in urban and residential regions of the US, and they have become well established in the southwest. These cockroaches are native to the middle east, but they were spotted for the first time in the US back in 1978 in California. One year later, a second Turkestan cockroach sighting occurred at Ft. Bliss in El Paso.

The cockroaches at Ft. Bliss had established an infestation within a housing unit. Several more Turkestan cockroach infestations were documented at other military bases during subsequent years, leading experts to believe that the roach species arrived in the US after hitching a ride on military equipment returning to the country from the middle east. Today, Turkestan cockroaches are abundant in urban and suburban regions of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Researchers claim that up to 75 percent of all peridomestic roach species found within structures in the southwest are Turkestan cockroaches, making them more abundant within structures than the Oriental cockroach species. Turkestan cockroaches are well adapted to arid desert environments, which explains the speed with which these roaches gained a foothold over Oriental roaches in the southwest. Turkestan cockroach infestations see a greater number of individual roaches within structures than Oriental roach infestations. The Turkestan cockroach is quickly surpassing the oriental cockroach as the most abundant roach pest around homes and buildings in Texas.

Have you ever found food that was infested with cockroaches?