Cockroaches are an all-pervasive, extremely resilient pest found in many countries around the world, including the UK. Such is their reputation for survival in the harshest of conditions that the myth has developed that they could even survive a nuclear bomb.

Household cockroaches can live in populations that number into the millions. They can spoil food and appliances, but are also a serious health hazard, triggering allergic reactions and the development of asthma.

Various, often imperfect methods are used to try and control cockroaches, from mechanical tools such as sticky traps to chemical approaches using gels and pastes. However, traps have a limited range and the long-term use of chemical treatments can make cockroaches resistant to insecticides.

However, the cockroaches' days could soon be numbered after a new system using artificial intelligence and lasers was unveiled, designed by a scientist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.