Millions Of Cockroaches Used For Chinese Medicine Escape From Farm

on August 26 2013 3:32 PM

Someone call pest control! Reports in a coastal area of China are saying that at least one million cockroaches have escaped a local farm.

Though cockroaches are considered to be pests by most people in the world, one Chinese man in the coastal city of Dafeng, Jiangsu Province, was breeding the bug to be used for traditional Chinese medicine. According to a report by the Associated Press, extracts from the cockroach can be used to help treat cancer, reduce inflammation, and improve the body’s immunity and resilience.

The farm’s owner, Wang Pengsheng, said at least one million of his Periplaneta Americana cockroaches (also known as water bug or American cockroach) managed to escape from a greenhouse after an “unknown perpetrator” damaged it earlier in the month. Wang said that he had spent the past six months breeding the insects, feeding them biscuits and fruit every day while also developing his business plan. Unfortunately for Wang, and other Dafeng city residents, the insects escaped and have been infesting nearby farms and other areas. While an estimate of one million has been used in several reports of the incident, an unnamed source who works at the farm said that there are likely much more that escaped, saying one million was a “conservative estimate.”

Officials from the Jiangsu Board of Health have swiftly responded to the issue and are reportedly conducting routine “large-scale disinfections” of the area in hopes of containing the infestation, a report by Chinese publication Modern Express reported. The disinfections will reportedly be enough to kill the cockroaches, but residents of Dafeng have been warned to look out for persistent pockets of cockroaches.

While Dafeng locals have been told by health officials that the situation has been handled, the loss of the cockroaches will be a considerable financial loss for Wang’s farm. According to his account, Wang would have earned 1,000 yuan, or roughly $163, for every kilogram of insects that he sold. Wang said that he invested about 100,000 yuan, or over $16,300, in purchasing cockroach eggs for the business, a venture that he will now have to start from scratch or totally scrap. For the sake of his neighbors and other residents, let’s hope Wang doesn’t hatch another insect-related business plan. 

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