Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Scary chemicals

I guess it makes sense that cockroaches are deeply interested in sex. After all, they say that if you see one cockroach that means there are probably twenty or more babies somewhere that you didn't see, and those babies had to come from somewhere.

I didn't realize they were quite this interested, though:

A single female roach (is) capable of producing as many as 2 million offspring a year.
Two million? TWO MILLION? Our house isn't big enough for two million cockroaches!

But it's wonderful that the clever anti-cockroach scientists (registration required, or use BugMeNot from the sidebar) can use this weakness against the cockroaches. I'm all for getting rid of the horrible little buggers. The cockroaches, I mean, not the scientists.

On the other hand, think about this:
In the long and seemingly futile quest to build a better roach trap, researchers have identified the come-hither chemical of the female German cockroach and produced a synthetic version that makes males come running in fewer than nine seconds.

and this:
The compound that lures males to their potential mates is so powerful that cockroaches near death from starvation will forgo peanut butter for a chance to copulate
And now think about THIS: how long do you think it will be before a clever scientist gets it into her head to identify and produce a come-hither chemical that does the same thing to men?

(Pause, so you can think about it.)

I must say that as a woman I'm a little apprehensive. Call me old-fashioned, but a nine second warning isn't long enough for me. And if the man in question is near starvation he's not going to have time for preliminaries, is he? So the burning question in my mind is this: What will deflect him, if peanut butter won't?


Cheryl said...

Nice one

Paula said...

Mmm, peanut butter! What?

Badaunt said...

OK, Paula, so we've established that for you, peanut butter is better than sex.

Does this mean that in your house hiding the peanut butter is a ...hint?

Anonymous said...

Do you prefer smooth or chunky peanut butter? ;^)

I've never had cockroaches. I do keep my lids on tight, just in case.


Charone said...

Ok, but isn't it more important to kill the females? They're the ones laying the 2 million eggs.

Badaunt said...

Charone: You're absolutely right, of course. I didn't even notice that.

I wonder if they've already figured out how to attract the females? Maybe they just put out peanut butter, or... dozens of cute little shoes... ? (Hi Paula!)

tinyhands said...

Now attracting the females is a scientific project I can get behind.

Badaunt said...

Tinyhands: Peanut butter. Shoes. Just ask Paula. (Who needs science?)

melinama said...

But did you hear the other half of this? Female cockroaches are given food as "nuptial gifts" by the mails. The female mounts the male (attracted by the smell of the food) and while she is on his back eating his nuptial gift, he reaches around and - does it. I did not see a picture so I can't really get hold of what this would look like. But it may be in my dreams tonight. Too much information, thanks to NPR.