Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • If a cockroach walked by you right now, would you step on it?

  • If so, I get it, but you should know cockroaches are cooler than you might think.

  • Hey guys! What’s up? I’m Sapna here at DNews.

  • Today were answering a question that came from our subreddit page, r slash Dnews.

  • The usersemihcwants to know if cockroaches have any benefit to nature.

  • Well yes they do, Semi! Despite their bad reputation, most roaches play an important role in the natural world.

  • And we humans may even be able to learn a thing or two from these resilient creepy creatures.

  • I know it’s tough to see cockroaches as anything but awful.

  • And no matter what we do to try and get rid of them, they often outsmart us.

  • For example, cockroaches eat pretty much anything:

  • your leftover steak, the soap scum in your bathtub, even the glue on an envelope, which is actually pretty incredible.

  • Roach poison takes advantage of that, and tastes sweet to the little buggers, they eat it and die.

  • But according to a recent study in the journal "Science," some cockroaches evolved new body chemistry so the poison no longer tastes good, thus no snack and no death.

  • Most people think of cockroaches as household pests,

  • but there are actually about 4500 different species of cockroaches around the world.

  • And less than 1% of them are the freaky ones that scatter when we turn on the lights.

  • Those in our homes are often covered in bacteria and fecal matter; it sticks to them, they ingest it, and defecate everywhere.

  • And proteins in their feces, saliva, and eggs are one of the biggest causes of allergies and asthma for people living in urban environments.

  • I know it's gross.

  • And maybe that’s more than you wanted to know about cockroach feces, but beyond the cities where we live, it gets better!

  • Cockroach poop is actually beneficial to the environment! It plays a role in the earth’s nitrogen cycle.

  • Forest roaches consume decaying organic matter and release its nitrogen back into the soil through their feces so it can be used again by plants.

  • Most cockroaches, 99.7% of them, live far away from people, mostly in wooded areas.

  • And they actually do some good in the world.

  • In some environments, they serve as pollinators for flowers.

  • And by consuming the decaying vegetation, the microbes inside their gut

  • break down plant materials that are often indigestible by most mammals,

  • which is why some experts call cockroaches nature's janitors or decomposers.

  • Now, roaches are also an important source of food for some species, like centipedes, lizards, and birds.

  • And at least one species of wasp couldn't live without the cockroach.

  • I think this is really cool!

  • So, the parasitic emerald wasp stings a cockroach and injects venom into a specific part of its brain which blocks voluntary movement.

  • The wasp then leads this zombie roach back to its burrow, lays an egg on it,

  • and when that egg hatches, the larva eats the roach from the inside out and emerges as a mature wasp.

  • I know it’s disgusting, but isn’t that awesome?

  • Cockroaches can help humans too, by the way.

  • Because they survive in the filthiest of conditions, their central nervous system produces natural antibiotics.

  • We've found that their natural defenses work even against antibiotic-resistant bacteria like staph aureus, also known as MRSA.

  • And scientists at Harvard's Biorobotics Laboratory are studying the legs of cockroaches, too.

  • Cockroach legs are not only springy and flexible, but they also work together seamlessly so the

  • insect can run at really fast speeds on uneven ground.

  • By copying these evolutionary advantages, scientists hope to design new prosthetics and mechanical hands!

  • So there you go "Semihc," we love your question. And yes, cockroaches really do play an important role in our ecosystem.

  • And get this, engineers are actually turning roaches into robots.

  • You can see how and why in this video.

  • The remote control doesn’t tap into the brain per se, because the cockroach doesn’t navigate with eyes in the same way we do,

  • but it uses its antennae to feel for the walls or their predators.

  • This package stimulates the nerves in their antennae so the roach thinks that there’s a wall coming or harm,

  • and it causes it to turn to the direction the controller wants.

  • So what do you think about cockroaches, now? Tell us down in the comments section down below.

  • And don't forget to click subscribe!

  • And if you have any other questions let us know on our subreddit page at r slash Dnews.

  • Thanks for watching.

If a cockroach walked by you right now, would you step on it?

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

C1 cockroach roach wasp feces subreddit dnews

Why Do Cockroaches Even Exist?

  • 722 41
    Vivi Lee posted on 2016/07/25
Video vocabulary