Six billion cockroaches bred in Xichang to produce remedies for stomach ailments

The number of insects exceed the earth’s human population. Their release into the environment would be a catastrophe. Adult cockroaches are used to make a potion used by millions of Chinese to treat respiratory and gastric problems.

Xichang (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The world’s largest cockroach farm is in Xichang, Sichuan, south-western China, where it breeds six billion cockroaches a year.

When they become adult, the cockroaches are crushed into a paste to make a potion that is slightly sweet and has fishy smell. It is used to treat gastric and respiratory ailments.

The Good Doctor Pharmaceutical Group in Chengdu, Sichuan, operates the farm that breeds the six billions of cockroaches by controlling temperature and humidity using artificial intelligence.

According to the Chinese government, the potion made from the cockroaches is used by millions of Chinese.

In China many farms breed cockroaches, used in medicine and as a source of protein for farm animals. But none is as big as the one in Xichang, where the number of cockroaches exceeds that of the earth's human population.

For Xichang’s 800,000 residents, the insects are not a danger per se, but their sudden release into the environment – as a result of an earthquake, another natural disaster, or human error – would be.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Prof Zhu Chaodong, a scientist at the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said that should this happen it would be "a catastrophe".