Suburbanites may be blissfully unaware, but for city dwellers it’s one of nature’s ultimate truths: cockroaches love sweets. Sure, the repulsive, disease-carrying insects eat anything at all, from moldy cat food to the stinkiest cheese — but given a choice, they’ll always go for the sugar.
Or rather, they used to. According to a new study in Science, some roaches’ tastes are evolving to the point where they’re refusing to gobble down glucose, a form of sugar commonly found in plants. “They now perceive glucose as bitter,” says Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University and one of the report’s authors. And while that might sound like good news for the roach-infested, it’s not: sucrose is the key attractant used in roach traps — and many of the nasty little creatures are no longer interested.