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Why are cockroaches so hard to kill? - Ameya Gondhalekar

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In ancient Egypt, there was a spell that declared, “Be far from me, O vile cockroach.” Thousands of years later, we’re still trying to oust these insects. But from poison traps to brandished slippers, cockroaches seem to weather just about everything we throw at them. So, what makes cockroaches so hard to kill? Ameya Gondhalekar digs into the genetic wonders of this troublingly tenacious creature.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Ameya Gondhalekar
  • Director Irida Zhonga
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Irida Zhonga
  • Animator Hoda Ramy, Gabriela Sibilska, Kostas Firinidis
  • Character Designer Kostas Firinidis, Christos Papandreopoulos
  • Background Artist Christos Papandreopoulos, Kostas Firinidis
  • Music Phil Brookes
  • Sound Designer Phil Brookes
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-Checker Julia Dickerson
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Cockroaches have a fascinating evolutionary history. Some noteworthy publications from the 20th century (e.g., Roth and Willis 1960) provide an overview of their evolutionary history along with their biotic associations. In the 21st century, availability of the genomes of important pest cockroaches such as the German and American cockroach (Harrison et al. 2018 and Li et al. 2018) have provided more in depth understanding of their evolutionary linkages. Reading material links are provided below.

Roth and Willis 1960
Harrison et al. 2018
Li et al. 2018

From an economic perspective, pest cockroach species that live in close association with humans and human-made structures are heavily targeted for elimination due to the nuisance they cause and the allergens they produce. Detailed information on the biology, behavior and control of pest cockroaches can be found in the “Handbook of Pest Control” (10th edition published in 2011). Specifically, Chapter 2 in this book, is dedicated to pestiferous cockroaches. For those interested in gaining more in-depth knowledge about pest cockroaches can purchase this book from various online sources. The link that provides overview of the contents of this book is provided below.

Handbook of Pest Control

Of the various pest cockroach species, the German cockroach, Blattella germanica is by far the most common household pest at the global level. The German cockroach is such a globally important structural and food pest that an entire book dedicated to biology and the management of this cockroach species was published in 2021. This book can be purchased from this publisher.  


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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Ameya Gondhalekar
  • Director Irida Zhonga
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Irida Zhonga
  • Animator Hoda Ramy, Gabriela Sibilska, Kostas Firinidis
  • Character Designer Kostas Firinidis, Christos Papandreopoulos
  • Background Artist Christos Papandreopoulos, Kostas Firinidis
  • Music Phil Brookes
  • Sound Designer Phil Brookes
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-Checker Julia Dickerson

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