Billions and Billions of Cockroaches

Breeding cockroaches is a flourishing business in China where the insects are a staple medical component. Roaches are used in remedies for ailments such as stomach ulcers and respiratory-tract malaise.

Some roaches, along with other insects, are increasingly finding their way into human diets.

Cockroach farms are common in China. A new operation near the city of Jinan has developed a large new sector in the cockroach industry. Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology Company houses a billion cockroaches in four large hangars, each kept secure by a moat filled with roach-eating fish.

The cockroaches feast on food waste collected from restaurants in the area. Every day they consume fifty tons of kitchen debris that would otherwise generate methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas. Cockroaches live in spaces between square wooden frames lined up on racks. The environment is warm and humid, ideal for cockroach propagation.

After a lifetime already in roach heaven, deceased insects are ground into animal feed. Says a spokesperson for the project, “If we can farm cockroaches on a large scale, we can provide protein that benefits the entire ecological cycle.”

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