Instead of unloading a can of Raid on cockroaches, one woman in China keeps them in her home as pets.
Yuan Meixia, 37, cares for more than 100,000 cockroaches in her countryside home in Fujian province, the South China Morning Post reports.
Meixia, a pharmacy worker, feeds the creepy crawlies rice bran, honeydews, apples and glucose.
She regulates the home temperature by spraying cold water on the walls during hotter weathers, and allows her pets to warm themselves by a gas-powered stove inside the house on colder months.
She even modified her house to make it suitable for the insects by adding zippered silk nets instead of doors to prevent them from being crushed. Every crevice or hole inside the house has been sealed with cement so they can’t get out.
Meixia mainly raises Palmetto bugs, a large winged type of cockroach that are commonly seen in the United States.
The 37-year-old claims the cockroaches “are all my children, my babies,” she told the newspaper.
But don’t be fooled by her maternal instincts because once the adult cockroaches are ready for harvesting, she drowns them in water and dries them in the sun before selling them to pharmaceutical companies for an estimated $128 per kilogram.
The bug breeder told reporters who visited the house that the cockroaches “can act as anti-cancer drugs,” although she has no sources to support her claim.
According to Yahoo News, researchers at Anhui Medical University wrote: “The Palmetto bug and its extracts can protect liver functions when [the natural protein Concanavalin A] caused acute immunity hepatic injury among mice.”
The bugs are not used in traditional Chinese medicine, but are reportedly used in many folk recipes.
(Photos courtesy of Nandu.com via South China Morning Post)