Invasion of the 'Super Roach': Asian Cockroaches Take New York City

A super-species cockroach withstands winter weather in New York.

A roach walks around the racetrack on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, at the New Berlin, Wis., headquarters of Batzner Pest Management.
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This sounds more like the plot to a bad horror film than real life, but a new species of cockroaches that can withstand harsh winters has been found in New York City.

Just about every New Yorker has shared their residence with cockroaches at one time or another. But however invasive the cohabitation may have been, the New York breed of cockroaches were unable to survive the freezing temperatures of the winter months. Until now - New York has a new breed of cockroaches discovered in Manhattan's High Line park and has been confirmed as a cold-resistant species native to Asia.

 

[READ: Researchers Use Video Game Software to Steer Cockroaches]

Rutgers University scientists Jessica Ware and Dominc Evangelista, whose findings were published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, say the new cockroaches on the block are actually fairly similar to the native species, which will provoke competition for space and food.

The fueding will most likely keep the new cockroach population low "because more time and energy spent competing means less time and energy to devote to reproduction," Ware said. New Yorkers have no reason to be alarmed, she added.

But Michael Scharf, an entomologist at Purdue University, says that there is still a chance these critters could hurt the ecosystem.

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"To be truly invasive, a species has to move in and take over and out-compete a native species," Scharf said to The Associated Press. "There's no evidence of that, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned about it."

The new pest is suspected of making his way to the United States as a stowaway in the soil of imported plants.

"It's not a far stretch to picture that that is the source," Ware said. "If we discover more populations in the U.S., we could trace their genes back to try to figure out their exact sources."

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