High Line Horticulturist: ‘Anyone’s Guess’ How Foreign Roaches Arrived | chelseanow.com

High Line Horticulturist: ‘Anyone’s Guess’ How Foreign Roaches Arrived

A rendering depicts the 11th Ave. bridge, along Section III of the High Line.

Things to Come: A rendering depicts the 11th Ave. bridge, along Section III of the High Line.

BY SAM SPOKONY | ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DEC. 9, 2013  |  The organization that oversees the High Line says it’s not sure how a rare breed of cockroach — which has never before been spotted in the U.S. — ended up inside the popular elevated park.

It was reported today that Periplaneta japonica, a species of roach that can apparently survive New York’s cold winter weather, was first seen on the High Line by an exterminator in 2012. The beastly bug has entered the news because of a recent scientific article in the Journal of Economic Entomology, which confirmed that this was the roach’s first sighting on American soil.

“We spotted species Periplaneta japonica last year and, as with all insects and other creatures that inhabit the space, have been monitoring any impact,” said Friends of the High Line Director of Horticulture Thomas Smarr, in a December 9 email to Chelsea Now. “Fortunately, we do not believe this insect is having a negative impact on the park.”

Previous reports guessed that the bug might have come to the High Line through foreign soil imports — but Smarr characterized that scenario as, at best, unlikely.

“The [scientific] study speculated the source of the insect’s arrival, but we understand it did not check other parks, natural spaces and buildings nearby — so it’s truly anyone’s guess,” said Smarr. “We source our plants through plant nurseries located mostly in the northeastern U.S., which go through routine USDA inspections to identify harmful pest/disease issues. No issue was raised with us.”

And although the japonica roaches haven’t yet caused any noticeable problems around the area, the High Line crew asserts it will be ready to act if the need arises.

“Our team of experts will continue to keep an eye on it,” said Smarr.


  1. Pamela Wolff says:

    As a veteran of the cockroach wars of the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's, first in the Village and then in Chelsea, I know a thing or two about how to banish them. It's called Maxforce, the industrial strength Combat. I've used this product in all of the 58 units of my coop building on 21st Street. I distribute four or five baits to each apartment about twice a year, and the little buggers are gone, gone. I wonder if the new guys are as susceptible as my old crop of American and German varmints. Actually they look more like water bugs than the classic cockroach. There's a bait for them too.

    1. Teresa says:

      Pamela- what do you use for water bugs?

  2. Mike_Noble says:

    Pamela's remedy is so effective that it is known to have put many exterminators out of business. And, yes, these new pets do resemble water bugs, which down south are called palmetto bugs. They have the scary ability to fly. I guess it's time to read up on them. http://www.orkin.com/cockroaches/difference-betwe

  3. […] you feel more secure?  Thanks, Sam for the interesting article, which you can read by clicking here or on the link below.  But if it’s all the same to you, you can keep the japonica, however […]