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Pharma

Cockroach Easter?

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Hi everybody

I hope you had a happy Easter!

We did and we also had some excessive eggs which I threw into my roach bins yesterday and miraculously one egg was dyed bright pink (on the inside) over night...

Actually it weren't the roaches dying eggs for Easter but it was Serratia marcescens, a bacterium which is present only in the bin of my Elliptorhina chopardi dying every dead roach and food leftover in such a kitschy color. What astonished me was the speed with which they do it (less than twenty hours) or in other words the amazing speed of reproduction these bacteria have! Fortunately they don't harm my roaches and the roaches don't eat 'infected' stuff.

Grüessli

Andreas

post-717-1270552313_thumb.jpg

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That's pretty neat Pharma! Now, this isn't the bacterium that turns the 'roaches red before they die that makes them all limp and putrid when they finally die is it? Do you know the name of that one? There was a thread about it once but I’m not sure where it was…

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Hi Bugman

I did remember that thread and this was one reason why I posted the picture.

Correctly it isn't the bacterium causing the color but prodigiosin, a pigment produced by it :P BUT it is exactly the one species assumed to kill the roaches. My roaches (even at high population density) do well with the microbes present even though dead roaches turn pink soon. I suppose that S. marcescens as an opportunistic bacterium is not the cause for dead roaches but just a 'symptom' (and if it would kill them, they should turn pink faster, might be even before they die).

Grüessli

Andreas

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Wow, I'm completely unaware of this phenomenon. Would love to learn more about it.

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Hi BoogleBug

Well... this phenomenon is supposed to be responsible for one or the other blood miracle like bleeding Madonna figures :D .

From a scientific point of view there is not much special or spectacular about it: It's just a bacterium producing a pink pigment. Judging from the other egg left-overs there seems to be an optimal condition for that particular strain only in one roach bin. The other egg left-overs (I left them in the bins for another day, kind of agar-plate substitute to check the microbial load in there) turned if they weren't just dried out or completely eaten more or less putrid too but without coloration; one could see (and sometimes smell *retch*) after two days that there are a lot of bacteria and occasionally fungi on them too but no colored ones. Moist bins and high/dens populations correlated quite well with the decay :lol: .

If you happen to find a dead roach with pink markings it is very likely to be Serratia marcescens (by the way it is quite frequent) -> Don't fool around with it just because it is so funny looking and don't breed it in large amounts, it is an opportunistic bacterium responsible for several nosocomial infections (mainly catheter and urinary tract infections) and in non-healthy people it can do much harm!

Grüessli

Andreas

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