It’s said that cockroaches would survive a nuclear war, but can they withstand scientists who understand evolution? A new study finds that evolution-based Integrative Pest Management was more effective than conventional treatments at killing cockroaches in North Carolina schools.
This is good news for asthmatics and people with allergies, since cockroaches produce allergens and are linked to incidence of asthma.
It’s also good news for scientists, yet another in a long string of reasons why people need to understand evolution. IPM is based on an evolutionary and ecological understanding of pests. IPM relies on an understanding of the ways in which one pesticide will affect the evolution of the pest, or how treating at one time of year versus another might interact with the pest’s lifecycle, minimizing the evolution of resistance and decreasing pests at key times in the year. Understanding the evolution of life history in the past is key to putting pressure on pest populations at times that will most effectively knock populations down.
Once again, evolution saves the day, and lungs of young tarheels.