The Mother of All Cockroaches: Chinese Woman Loves Raising Bugs by the Thousands

Living with 100,000 cockroaches might sound like your worst nightmare, but for a pharmacy employee in Fujian Province it’s family and business all mixed into one.

Yuan Meixia, 37, uses an abandoned house in the woods in the countryside to breed palmetto bugs for folk medicines, according to

The house has zippered silk nets instead of doors, and all potential escape holes are sealed with concrete to keep the creepy critters inside. Perhaps the worst part is that Yuan thinks of the insects as her babies, treating them like children!

At 6 p.m. each day, Yuan puts tasty piles of melons, apples, and rice bran on shelves where the creatures gather to feed. And tiny cute baby roaches get treated to bags of glucose.

After feasting, the bugs are ready for their nocturnal activities of hunting, mating, and spawning, with each female able to produce dozens of offspring.

But when the short-lived pets are ready to be harvested, Yuan drowns them, dries them in the sunshine, and bags them up ready to be sold. They can be sold whole or ground, but apparently some people just eat them raw.

Recent research suggests roaches can help restore liver function, while Yuan believes they have anti-cancer properties.

Yuan is well-known locally for her unusual work. Most Weibo bloggers were grossed out, with one saying, “This is so scary!”

Another wrote: “It’s killing me.”

And a third commented: “Please decontaminate anyone who eats these cockroaches!!!”

Let’s hope Yuan doesn’t have to deal with an outbreak like last year, when a breeder in Jiangsu Province lost 1 million roaches after his greenhouse got broken into!

Yuan Meixia with one of her 100,000 pet cockroaches. (Screenshot/

Yuan Meixia with one of her 100,000 pet cockroaches. (Screenshot/

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