Why Nuclear Isn’t an Option for a Jacksonville, FL Exterminator

[Discovery.com]
Explanation: The myth that cockroaches will inherit the Earth in the event of nuclear warfare surfaced shortly after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Reports later emerged that the 300 million-year-old insects were among the razed Japanese cities’ only survivors. During the Cold War, anti-nuclear activists and scientists spread the myth far and wide as a cautionary tale of the atom bomb’s destructive potential.

To test whether this doomsday scenario has any legs, the MythBusters subjected German cockroaches to three levels of radioactive metal cobalt 60. They started with a baseline exposure of 1,000 radon units (rads) of cobalt 60, capable of killing a person in 10 minutes, and followed it up with 10,000 and 100,000 rad exposures on separate guinea pig — er, roach — groups. (As a comparison, the bomb on Hiroshima emitted radioactive gamma rays at a strength of around 10,000 rads.)

Don’t expect nuclear pest control to come to a Jacksonville, FL exterminator near you. Not only is it dangerous to carry all that radiation, studies have shown that some insects may be more resistant to the radiation; case in point, cockroaches. Being one of the oldest creatures on the planet, outlasting dinosaurs by 150 million years, cockroaches are truly resilient creatures. The MythBusters made the experiment years ago with interesting results.

The survival rate for cockroaches exposed to 10,000 rads of cobalt-60, a common isotope, was at ten percent. The exposure is the same as the radiation emitted by Little Boy, the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima in 1945. On the other hand, whereas 1,000 rads can be lethal for a person after ten minutes of exposure, half of the cockroaches in the experiment simply shrugged it off. However, it’s important to know that cockroaches are resistant, not vulnerable.

No survivors were found on the group exposed to 100,000 rads. It may imply that the dose would be enough to kill cockroaches; but think about it, 1,000 rads alone is lethal enough for the human body. Then again, even if the studies favored using nuclear radiation for pest control, the government may not hand the isotopes over so easily. The cockroaches’ resistance to radiation can be credited from their slow cellular processes; their cells divide slower than humans, making them less susceptible to radiation.

For now, Jacksonville pest extermination companies like BugManiacs prefer the tried-and-tested way of pesticides, bug baits, and the like. It’s definitely better than carrying a portable reactor while wearing a hazmat suit.