The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Shooting Roaches

by The Loh Down On Science

How roaches are hardwired for escape.

Is your dream shooting an air gun at cockroaches?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

saying David Booth, from the University of Sussex, has actually lived this dream. He SHOT at individual roaches in his lab - using controlled streams of air. Poof! Poof! Then he filmed which way they ran. The air assaults targeted a range of angles to each bug's body. Directly behind it was considered zero degrees, while head-on was one hundred and eighty degrees.

The ScurryMeisters fled in seemingly random directions. However, after about FIVE HUNDRED trials, a striking pattern emerged.

The critters DID make random choices--but they chose among four main escape routes: Ninety degrees, one hundred and twenty degrees, one hundred and fifty degrees, or one hundred and eighty degrees from the direction of attack.

It's like they've got a short-list of fixed flight paths hardwired into their tiny little brains. By alternating among the options, they keep even the most advanced swatters guessing where they might go. And they don't even have to THINK about it.

That's why I use Raid. Don't think about that either.

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