Entrepreneurs are exploiting a medical craze that has swept across China – and it hinges upon the belief that eating cockroaches can remedy blood clots, gastroenteritis, tuberculosis, heart disease and other health conditions. A booming new industry for farming millions of creepy crawlies has emerged. Once they reach a certain level of maturity, the cockroaches are crushed into pills that believers consume like a daily vitamin. Native Chinese people, particularly in the country’s northern regions, have eaten cockroaches for centuries, so there is virtually no social stigma associated with popping roach pills – and the business of raising them comes with a substantial payback.
Wang says that cockroach farming is a lucrative industry, with earning potential that significantly outstrips other professions such as traditional farming. He currently earns between $50,000 and $150,000 a year for his roach crop and has quintupled his output in just two years; and if that isn’t enough to make your skin crawl, Wang has helped to establish more than 30 other roach farms in the area.