Have you ever wondered why certain commercial or residential areas get reinfested by cockroaches sooner even though cockroach treatment was more or less uniform in all areas? Differences in environmental characteristics like temperature, humidity, and availability of food and hideaways surely contribute to the persistence of these pests in such problem areas.

But there is another factor that is less often considered when designing a pest management program for German cockroaches: personalities. For example, there are variations in the attraction of German cockroaches to baits. Entomologists and pest control researchers have attributed differences in behavior to groups or “strains”. More recently, biologists in general have already recognized behavioral differences at the individual level, even for clones. Therefore “personalities” of insects (and other animals) within a species and within a population, nest, colony or even group of identical beings are now acknowledged as valid concepts to work on in research and applications dealing with variations resulting from the interaction between genes and environment.

In this interview by Pest Control Technology, University of Illinois Entomologist May Berenbaum explains the concept of insect personalities as it relates to pest management.

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