Study ID's Cockroaches' Feeding Habits

LONDON, June 8 (UPI) — British researchers say they’ve determined cockroaches do not forage for food and water individually, as had been thought, but do so collectively.

The study by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London suggests that, just like humans, cockroaches share their local knowledge of the best food sources and follow “recommendations” from others. The researchers said they determined groups of the insects seem to make a collective choice about the best food source, explaining why the insects are so commonly found feeding en masse in a kitchen late at night.

“Cockroaches cost the U.K. economy millions of pounds in wasted food and perishable products,” said researcher Mathieu Lihoreau of the university’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. “Better understanding of how they seek out our food would allow us to develop better pest control measures, which are frequently ineffective and involve the use of insecticides that can have health side-effects.”

He said the study is the first demonstration that groups of cockroaches can forage for food collectively, rather than independently, relying on their individual experience.

The research that included Jean-Louis Deneubourg and Colette Rivault appears in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

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