Cockroach farming takes hold in China

Cockroach farming takes hold in China

Powder from the pulverized insects is highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, leading some entrepreneurs to begin breeding them.

File photo of cockroaches for sale at a market (© Elena Nikolajeva/Alamy)If cockroaches could survive a nuclear war, perhaps they can also help people live longer and heal faster.

That’s the thinking in China, where the lowly cockroach has risen to fame as a medicinal wonder. Ground roach powder is increasingly being used in traditional medical practices to treat everything from cirrhosis to cancer.

Cockroach powder is so popular that farmers selling the insects can earn as much as $89 per pound, Quartz reports. Now, some men and women are making a decent living in a new field: Cockroach ranching.

Breeders currently raise about 1,000 tons of cockroaches a year, Quartz reports, but traditional Chinese medicine practitioners need three times that much.

The healing powers of cockroaches are being explored in the U.S. as well. In this Fox News Video, a clinician at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York shows how practitioners mix cockroach powder with sesame oil and apply it directly to the skin.

“Many patients report that their trauma heals much more quickly,” said the clinician, Jeremy Pulsifer.

But there’s one problem with raising cockroaches: They are pests and prone to escape. Consider the major snag one Chinese rancher’s business hit this month when an unknown perpetrator destroyed a plastic greenhouse in Dafeng, releasing 1 million cockroaches into the surrounding cornfield. The owner of the facility had spent more than $16,000 on cockroach eggs in hopes of making it rich in farming, AFP reports.

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