All posts tagged: lot of cockroaches

The Cockroach Cure – The Atlantic

The Cockroach Cure – The Atlantic

A week before Christmas in 1983, two chemists at Yale University made a breakthrough that they thought could change the world. “It was like opening up a door and seeing a light,” one of the scientists, Stuart Schreiber, later told The New York Times. The pair had produced a substance, periplanone-B, that sends the male American cockroach into a thrashing, sexual frenzy. What if this were used to build a better trap—a cockroach honeypot that lured bugs into a dish of poison? The implications were mind-bending. Cockroaches were overrunning U.S. cities in the 1980s—more than 2 billion lived in New York alone, according to the Times—and there was no good way of getting rid of them. Sprayed insecticides barely worked after decades’ worth of insect evolution. “Roach Motels” (glue traps, more or less) did next to nothing to prevent an infestation. My own family, like others living in apartments throughout New York City at the time, could only shrug at the roaches darting from our cupboards and crawling on the bathroom floor. I remember that …