Scientists are talking about the heat wave in New York City. However, they’re not talking about the way heat will affect the day-to-day life of New York residents. Instead, they’re talking about how much roaches like to fly when the weather is hot and humid.
Traveling home from work during rush hour in New York City is always a hassle. People bump into each other, they’re crammed into train cars as tight as they can be packed, and the scent of body odor and annoyance fills the air of every train station anywhere near the city. What would happen if, suddenly, one were to add flying roaches to the chaos?
So I’m walking up the subway stairs to the street, & I see a big butterfly flying towards me to welcome me home.. NOPE. GIANT COCKROACH. ☠☠☠
— Dan Amboyer (@danamboyer) August 8, 2016
Scientists believe New York residents will have to worry about exactly that.
DNA Info, a blog based in New York City, published an article on Friday that explained why experts believe the American roaches that New York residents know, and hate, will likely be spreading their wings and taking to the air.
Especially in places like subways tunnels.
“In hot steam tunnels, something with the temperature and the humidity encourages them to fly,” Ken Schumann, a Bell Environmental Services entomologist, told DNA Info. “When it’s warm and steamy that seems to be what they like.”
Normally, New York City roaches are rarely ever caught flying. They skitter along the sidewalks, they run in fear when a garbage can is opened, and, though they occasionally get inside a house, they don’t tend to fly away when confronted with a can of Raid. Unfortunately, the hotter it gets, the more use of their muscles roaches get, and the more likely they are to use those muscles to fly.
“They can sense humidity. They can sense the humidity in the air,” Joseph Kungel, a professor with the University of New England in Maine, told NBC News.
Kungel also told NBC News that he’d experienced the skin-crawling phenomenon of flying roaches firsthand when he was at a symposium in New Orleans. According to the professor, there was a roach on the ceiling of his dorm that decided to spread its wings and fly down onto his head.
THERE IS A FLYING COCKROACH IN MY APARTMENT DO I CALL 911
— Molly Mulshine (@mollymulshine) August 2, 2016
The south is much more used to seeing flying roaches, though they tend to be called palmetto bugs because their habits include spending the majority of their time high up in the palm trees.
Not only do roaches tend to fly more in the south because of the weather, but they also need to travel further for food.
New York City has a glamorous reputation, but along the streets of the city – and the surrounding boroughs – can be found plenty of food-based litter, overflowing garbage cans, and rotting produce. For roaches to eat in New York, they only have to skitter about a foot away from their last meal and they’re set. In the south, they have to travel much farther to find an appropriate food source.
Samantha Cole, a writer with Popular Science, explained the garbage situation in New York City in her article addressing flying roaches.
“The only solace I have is that they’re flying less here in New York than they are in the South, where food is more spread out. In the Big Apple, garbage is everywhere, so roaches are lazy, and they have less motivation to practice their aerial skills to reach the next rotting dollar slice.”
Normally, New York City isn’t hot enough to provoke the roaches into flying. However, the northeast has been experiencing severe heat advisories, with very high humidity, for the past few days.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) August 12, 2016
The extreme heat wave is not supposed to break until Tuesday.
[Image via iStock ]