ACES pest control fields calls from customers every week about these cockroaches. While Simon is right that they do not "infest" houses like German Cockroaches, ACES commonly find the full life cycle inside homes. They are different to the German Cockroaches as they prefer it cooler. But are often still found in kithens in the cooler parts such as the back of cupboards. Mostly people dont like the look of them as they can get quite large. They are not a health risk.
It’s native to Western Australia and has been found as far away as Gisborne, New Zealand. But never in Tasmania. Until now.
The drymaplaneta communis, or the Gisborne cockroach, has arrived.
Simon Fearn is the Collections Officer at QVMAG and has been the first to document the new roach's presence. In February, Simon's colleague, Judy Rainbird, brought one in she'd caught in her West Launceston backyard.
"People in the museum are always on the lookout for things so Judy caught the cockroach and brought it in, and because I'd spent quite a few years on the mainland collecting insects, I recognised the thing straight away."
Finding a single cockroach doesn't mean an established population, though, since one could have arrived through freight or another means, but then the specimens kept coming.
"Over the next few months, she started finding more and more and they were turning up in her neighbour's yard, and then another colleague at work just recently happened to mention that she's also seen some strange cockroaches and she sent through a photo."
You guessed it, the Gisborne cockroach again.
"It was the same type of roach and she lives about 1.1km away from where Judy lives so we've got quite a few specimens now, we've got females with egg cases, so it looks like we've got a new Tasmanian roach."
It's not just Launceston, though.
"Just the other day, one turned up in Sandy Bay in Hobart. Our colleagues at TMAG have been very helpful in getting that one identified and it's the same type of roach."
Again, one roach doesn't necessarily mean they've spread that far, but Simon Fearn would appreciate your help.
"We would really, really like members of the public, if they see anything strange, to bring them into the museums."
Here's what to look for:
- large roach, 25-30mm
- dark, chocolatey brown body
- a clear white band along the outer edge of both sides of its body
"We're urging anyone who sees a large roach with a white or cream band down each side of its body, if they could drop it into the museum please."
If you're wondering how to do that, he adds, "the best way is to put it in the freezer, then it just goes to sleep."
GOOD NEWS: Simon Fearn adds that they don't seem to live in people's houses.
Perhaps with New Zealand being cooler than Australia they are more able to live our houses. Definately a winter issue over here in NZ.
adapted from http://www.abc.net.au/radio/hobart/programs/your-afternoon/cockroaches/8653054, by Simon Fearn
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