22 October 2018
A Guangzhou woman is breeding cockroaches to sell to a drug factory. Photo:
A Guangzhou woman is breeding cockroaches to sell to a drug factory. Photo:

One woman’s creepy-crawly cash crop to combat cancer

Cockroaches are the future — at least for one 37-year-old Guangdong woman who is breeding tens of thousands of the critters to sell to a pharmaceutical factory in Anhui, Southern Metropolis Daily reported Thursday.

Roach breeding is a growing business in Anhui and Shandong and the woman said she decided to take it up herself after watching a television show on the industry, which claims the dried insects have anti-cancer properties, the report said. People are also breeding them for food.  

She paid tens of thousands of yuan for a weeklong course on how to breed the roaches and paid more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,600) on top of that to buy 10 kilograms of youngsters to get her project up and crawling.

“They are just like my kids and babies,” she said of the 100,000 roaches under her wing.

Each half-kilo sells for 300 yuan to 400 yuan and her farm can produce up to 10 kilograms every two months, the report said.

Other media reports said the woman might have been duped because there is no guarantee that she can sell the bounty.

The roaches are not used in mainstream medication but one Anhui university researcher maintains the insects have medicinal value, the report said.

The woman said her “children” like eating starchy food and sweets, so she puts melons, apples and bran in the “children’s room” for them to munch on. The insects scarper as soon as someone comes in the room, she said.

She feeds them at 6pm every day and they mate after dinner for about two hours. She added that she needs to collect the eggs and dung or the roaches will eat them up. 

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