The last two nights I went outside with a flashlight looking for cockroaches.
Both nights I found only 2. Typically I would see more than I can count.
I've now looked 3 separate nights and found only 2 cockroaches each night.
I don't like cockroaches, but their disappearance, starting in August, has me extraordinarily concerned.
We do not use pesticide. Nothing has changed with our gardening or watering. Our weather has not been atypical. We continue to feed our cat outside. The cockroaches used to feast on the crumbs.
I decided to Google "cockroaches and Chernobyl."
Low and behold cockroach numbers decreased significantly after Chernobyl.
Mary Mycio's Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl documents the decline in cockroaches after Chernobyl on page 116, along with the decline in "maybugs." She claims that insects that live in the soil were adversely affected by Chernobyl.
However, not everyone is convinced the radiation from Chernobyl caused the cockroach decline. See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depopulation_of_cockroaches_in_post-Soviet_states#cite_note-autogenerated3-0
I found a Russian news article from 2006 that briefly attempts to discount, without explanation, Chernobyl radiation's role in the disappearing cockroaches.
According to this 2006 Russian article, cockroaches have finally made a come-back after their disappearance, but the article does not explain why or how they disappeared after Chernobyl.
Here is the Russian version of the article http://www.bel.ru/news/belgorod/2006/12/04/21613.html
Here is the English translation via google translate: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bel.ru%2Fnews%2Fbelgorod%2F2006%2F12%2F04%2F21613.html&act=url
04.12.2006 10:58 The disappearance of the cockroaches in the Belgorod not associated with radiation
Several years ago, residents of Belgorod region drew attention to the sudden disappearance of cockroaches. Pestilent insects, known for their ruggedness and survivability, disappeared as if by command. Rumor had it that this is due to radiation.MAJIA HERE: It is worth noting that there exists now a fierce battle between (1) those who say that Chernobyl's legacy lives on, continuing to contaminate and mutate flora and fauna, and (2) those who see the primary effects as largely gone.
As reported by the news agency "Bel.Ru" in the federal public health care facility "disinfection station" red cockroaches, or as they are called by the people "cockroaches" widely spread in the territory of the Belgorod region in the last century. Especially active are bred in 80 - 90 years.
First, in 2000 had reduced the number of red cockroaches at all sites, especially where their control was carried out on a regular basis: it's children's educational facilities, catering, trade institutions.
Contributed to this and the widespread use of drugs approved for use in the home and available to any citizen. Therefore, the disappearance of cockroaches in the Belgorod not associated with radiation.
Certain conditions and insect cycles have contributed to the fact that in 2003-2004 the total number of red cockroaches declined significantly, not only in Belgorod, and Gubkin, Stary Oskol, Shebekino and other cities.
However, in large cities of Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and other cities did not become less than cockroaches. While the specialists of research institutes do not give a definitive explanation for these facts.
Since mid-2006 once again marked increase in the number of red cockroaches. This can be seen on request to carry out pest treatments.
In addition, this year in the city of Belgorod for the first time poslednie30 years of observations carried out by registered black, so-called "southern" cockroaches. Their appearance is associated with the migration of the population....
Here is an excerpt from a good overview of the debate:
Wired Magazine. Half-life: 25 years after the Chernobyl meltdown, a scientific debate rages on. By Adam Higginbotham. 05 May 11 http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2011/06/features/half-life?page=all
[Excerpted] "Meanwhile, the ecological repercussions of radiation exposure in the Exclusion Zone are now the subject of an increasingly bitter and polarised scientific dispute. On one side, there are Ukrainian and US scientists who argue that plants and animals in the zone are shrugging off the effects of long-term exposure to low levels of radioactivity and are thriving in a fecund wilderness. And on the other is the view represented by Mousseau and his colleague, a Danish biologist named Anders Møller, whose work supports a far more sobering hypothesis: the results of chronic exposure to low-level radiation are little understood and potentially catastrophic. Their evidence suggests that the zone is not an enchanted forest but a radioactive roach motel: animals go in, but they don't always come out....
...The potential genetic changes in human beings -- only now producing their third generation, as the children of the liquidators themselves raise families -- may take hundreds of years to fully unravel. While iodine-131 decayed long ago and the strontium and caesium are slowly becoming less potentially lethal, the hot particles of plutonium-241 scattered across the landscape are actually decaying into an even more toxic isotope, americium-241. A more powerful emitter of alpha radiation than plutonium, americium is also more soluble and can easily find its way into the food chain. Americium-241, in turn, decays into neptunium-237, another energetic alpha emitter that has a half-life of more than two million years. As of yet, the long-term effect of americium-241 remains largely unknown."
I've already stated where I come down on this debate. I know three people whose health was ruined by Chernobyl. They were born in the 1970s and 1980s and lived in Poland, Sweden, and Romania.
I've also seen The Children of Chernobyl http://www.journeyman.tv/57557/documentaries/children-of-chernobyl.html
And I studied Yablokov et al's comprehensive review of research on Chernobyl:
Yablokov, Alexey, Vassily B. Nesterenko, Alexey V. Nesterenko, and Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for the People and the Environment. New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1141, 2009. http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf
Given my interpretive stance, I'm betting the Russian government wanted to downplay the potential role of Chernobyl radiation in decimating cockroach populations because its probably pretty disturbing for people to think that Chernobyl fallout wiped out cockroaches.
If it wipes out cockroaches, what is it doing to people?
We don't live in the soil, like the cockroaches do, but we do eat plants from the soil. I posted a discussion of research I found documenting the uptake of radioactive cesium by plants. Plants are fooled by cesium, thinking it is potassium. So, the plants distribute the cesium throughout their entire system. We then eat the plants and ingest the cesium.
Cesium has been detected in the pollen of California trees (Gundersen: Cesium-134 and -137 detected in Southern California pollen sample — “When you find them both together that’s a Fukushima signature” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/gundersen-cesium-134-137-detected-southern-california-pollen-when-find-both-together-fukushima-signature-video)
What do ingested radionuclides do to us? Well, take a look at the Children of Chernobyl video.
Here is some background on "internal emitters," or ingested or inhaled radionuclides, summarized from scientific studies http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/on-internal-emitters.html
Here are two discussions of what happens to our genetic code when exposed to ionizing radiation, particularly when ingested:
Mutations: Germ Line Mosaicism
I don't know how much fallout it takes to largely wipe out a thriving cockroach colony but I'm personally convinced that Fukushima fallout took out the one in my yard.
I don't miss the cockroaches, but their absence haunts me.
Perhaps it takes less fallout to destroy cockroaches than people.
I certainly hope so.