German Cockroaches – As German As The London Bus

german cockroachThey may or may not survive a Nuclear War, but process in which The German Cockroach and its pals gained their names, quite possibly is the saviour of Civilisation as we know it!! A bold statement by all means, but read on dear guest as you may just gain respect for these tiny pests.

There are over 3000 species of cockroaches yet only 5 species are focussed on within the weighty World Health Organization, catchily titled: Public Health Significance of Urban Pests. Blattus germanica the German Cockroach is one member of this elite group.

It is reported that back in the 17th century they possibly entered Europe with Marco Polo or along early trade routes. Southeast Asia is its most likely origin since its relatives are common around pig sty’s in the outer islands of Hong Kong. And since live pigs were often kept on exploration ships during long trips, this cockroach became associated with man and travelled around the world. It was formally named by a chap called Linnaeus and probably was around in Germany for quite a while before the name was applied.

However, as with many century-long feuds and battles between countries, the cockroach has been used as an inadvertent insult to a sworn enemy. Or due to general ignorance about the cockroach, rumours about dirt and disease spreadingt evolved as facts.

Did you know, in Germany it is sometimes called “Die russische Schabe”, The Russian Roach. In Russia it is called the Polish Roach. Yet in America it was originally called the Crotton Bug because it came to NY about the time the Crotton Aqueduct was built; which was pilloried in the papers because it took so much land by eminent domain. But the now called American Cockroach, Periplaneta americana (our chap Linnaeus named this in 1758) likewise is another misnomer; since it probably originated in North Africa before becoming a world traveller. It most likely reached the Americas during the early slave trade.

As history repeats itself, we have recently seen comparisons with the increase in Bed Bug activity across Western Europe and America. This has amongst other names been labelled the east European Bed Bug with no credence whatsoever.

Ignorance is Bliss. Without conjecture and rumour in our daily lives, the media would fold, old women would have nothing to say over thegarden fence and we no longer would have the opportunity to snigger at the not-so-discreet bitching in the office or on the bus. What a boring world we would live in, Civilization may possibly collapse.

So thank heavens for the poor old German / Polish/ Russian / call it what you like Common old cockroach! And than god for the misinformed science of a chap called Linnaeus, who, if he was still up to his tricks nowadays, would probably be spending most of his life in the Libel Courts.

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