NYC: Invasive cockroach not afraid of the cold
Monday, December 9, 2013, 8:01 -
Periplaneta japonica, or the Japanese cockroach, is making itself feel right at home in New York.
Rutgers University insect biologists recently discovered the insect in Manhattan, marking the first time the critters have been confirmed in the United States.
They say it's too early to predict the impact the cockroaches may have on the ecosystem, if any at all -- but there's one thing they know for sure.
The bugs can withstand extremely cold temperatures, and aren't likely to die off during the winter months.
Michael Scharf, professor of urban entomology at Purdue University, told the Associated Press that the discovery is something to keep an eye on.
"To be truly invasive, a species has to move in and take over and out-compete a native species," he said. "There's no evidence of that, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned about it."
Researchers believe the cockroaches hitchhiked their way into the U.S. in plant soil.
Rutgers biologist Dominic Evangelista told AP that the insects are similar to the cockroaches that already exist in Manhattan and will likely compete for space and for food. He says this could help keep the population low.