Giant flying cockroaches invade Russian Black Sea resort town
With their body length reaching up to 5cm and a full length of 9cm with whiskers, the American incarnation of the bugs are considered the largest common cockroaches on Earth. They have wings and are very skilled at flying, something their Russian counterparts never do. And Russian scientists warn they won’t be going away.
The insects are dangerous pests; they spread diseases, cause allergic reactions in humans and damage not only food supplies but also the buildings that they infest.
These are the new neighbors that residents of Sochi, the famous resort on the Black Sea will have to get used to from now on. Numerous red-brownish bugs have been spotted in homes and green areas of the 2014 Olympic capital, scientists from Sochi National Park said.
As for how an invasion by an alien species occurred, they explained that “the American cockroaches are often held in terrariums as an exotic large insect and also used as a food for terrarium animals: lizards and certain species of snakes.” The scientists believe that roaches simply escaped from their terrariums to start populating Sochi.
The species, which got its name after being transferred to America on trade and slave ships in the 17th century, originates from tropical Africa. So, the conditions in Sochi are perfect for it. The Russian resort has a humid, subtropical climate, with the thermometers reaching plus 30 Celsius in summer and annual average temperature of plus 18.4 Celsius. American tourists, who visit the resort often, refer to it as “Russian Miami.”
Despite its being new in Sochi, the adaptive American cockroach has spread across the globe in areas with tropical climates. It’s often encountered in Southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with the nickname of a “little hard-to-kill pest” given to the insect in China.
The Asians have even learned to derive benefit from the pests. The roaches are an important ingredient in Chinese medicine, with one pharmaceutical company operating a farm that breeds around six billion of them every year. Restaurants in China, Vietnam and other countries also serve their customers a range of dishes that offer American cockroach as a protein.
The residents of Sochi are, of course, no strangers to exotic insects. Sochi National Park had recently shared pictures of rare sawyers, which were made on its territory. Those bugs are also considered pests due to feeding on trees or wooden structures, but some of them look absolutely beautiful.
Established in 1983, the Sochi National Park is the second oldest in Russia. It covers a vast area of 1,937 sq km, starting from the Black Sea shore and going all the way up to the Caucasus Mountains. The reserve hosts a variety of rare plants and animals, with the Persian Leopard reintroduced there in 2009.