Our knowledge of the role of gut microbes in the health and physiology of animals of all types is expanding as our tools to investigate microbes expands. Today, biologists have an array of biological and chemical tools that can provide positive identification of microbes based on DNA sequence and analyze trace amounts of chemicals produced by microbes. It has now been determined that the chemical odor that signals German cockroaches to aggregate is produced by microbes in the gut of the cockroach. If the microbes are eliminated, the cockroach feces won’t cause the cockroaches to aggregate.
Why is this important? If we could encourage cockroaches to aggregate in a trap, it would be easier to monitor their population and perhaps control them.