Will cockroaches survive a nuclear war?

Will cockroaches survive a nuclear war?

The “Myth buster” TV team from the Discovery channel   exposed three groups of German cockroaches (50 each) to 1000, 10,000 and 100,000 rads of gamma radiation using an irradiator located in the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory at Hanford site in USA. (Rad is a unit of radiation dose; a dose of 450 rads may kill 50 percent of the persons exposed). A fourth group of 50 cockroaches served as control.

They exposed similar groups of 50 flour beetles and 100 fruit flies to similar doses. Many bugs survived after receiving 1000 rads and 10,000 rads. However, only some flour beetles survived after receiving a dose of 100,000 rads. Fruit flies and flour beetles are found to be tougher than cockroaches. For instance, on the second day after receiving 100,000 rads all the cock roaches died; 40 percent of the fruit-flies and 90 percent of the flour beetles survived.   “Myth busters” concluded that they busted the myth since, more life forms than cockroaches survived!

A review of literature reveals that the radiation resistance of cockroaches is a myth. There is unimpeachable evidence on its radiation- vulnerability. The myth about this unlovable creature may survive notwithstanding the fame and popularity of the “Myth Busters”

Detailed articles may be read at:




About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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