Have you ever heard the one about cockroaches and radiation. Cockroaches are said to be the only known survivor of a nuclear holocaust.
They are tough little critters. They can live on the glue in paper bags or even each other. It is believed they can keep working without a head for up to a few weeks.
But when it comes to surviving a nuclear holocaust they, they are not much better than humans. Even more important, there are other bugs that will out survive them.
In 1919 during the first insect radiation survivability studies it was found that the Flour Beetle survived 60 rads of radiation. They even seemed to live longer.
In 1927 it was found that X-rays caused mutations in the lowly fruit fly. Then in 1957 the 1927 study beetle study was repeated with the same findings.
With the bombs dropped in Japan in addition to the fast growing radiation industry there was growing evidence of the health related issues associated with radiation exposure.
Human exposures of 200 to 500 rems have a 50% mortality rate. Exposure to 1,000 rems usually results in fatality. In practical terms, there were people as far as 13 miles (21 kilometers) from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima who received as much as 1200 rads and most died within the following month.
At 1,000 rads the cockroach will experience fertility problems. Go up to 6,400 rads and over 90% of immature German cockroaches will not survive.
Wood boring insects were found to survive doses up to 48,000 to 68,000 rads. What about the mutated fruit flies? They survived up to a fatal 64,000 rads.
If you want a true survivor, look to the parasitoid wasp also known as Habrobracon. It takes 180,000 rads to kill them.
The king of the radiation hill is a different kind of bug. It is a bacterium called Deinococcus radiodurans, or Conan the Bacterium by the researchers who love to study it.
It was supposedly discovered in canned meat that had presumably been preserved with a spray of radiation. Unfortunately it did not work as the rotting meat. How much radiation does it take to kill it. Well, so far, 1,500,000 rads of radiation will not kill it.
So when it comes to cockroaches and radiation sickness, they are not much better off than we are.
Radiation What is it, how does it make us sick? Are there any treatments? Go to the start of this thread.
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