A Chinese woman who uses her countryside home to breed roughly 100,000 cockroaches, has described them as her 'babies' despite selling them on to a pharmaceutical factory that uses it in some medicines.
Talking to a Southern Metropolis News reporter during a tour of Yuan Meizia's premises, the South China Morning Post reports that inside the house, there are "zippered silk nets that hold all the cockroaches in".
She said: "These are all my children, my babies."
Her 'babies' are of the Palmetto variety and are said to have liver-boosting properties. She feeds them everyday at 6pm, and the species like sweet, starchy foods so it tends to be a mixture of honeydew melon, apples and rice bran which they swarm over. The nymphs are fed glucose.
”Like children, they need sufficient nutrition,” said Yuan. ”They are most active at night, mating and hunting for food,” said Yuan. “They mate with each other after eating. The mating process lasts for two hours, and then spawning [happens]. Every spawn hatches dozens of baby cockroaches.”
The cockroaches are then killed by drowning, dried out and sold to the factory in the Anhui province.
Powdered cockroach is big trade in China, although it is more based on folk belief than traditional Chinese medicine.
Quartz reported: "It turns out China has a booming trade in cockroaches that can earn as much as 1200 yuan per kilogram, or $89 per pound. The roaring roach trade began when a Yunnan medical professor noticed elderly ethnic minorities in the area’s mountains pulverizing roaches to cure bone tuberculosis.