This summer the world was horrified after reports that “at least” one million cockroaches had escaped from a farm in Jiangsu, China.
While the mental image of one million cockroaches was disturbing enough, the bigger question was was why someone was farming such vast quantities of the insects.
Now, thanks to Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times, we have the answer: A cockroach bubble.
Demick spoke to one cockroach farmer, Wang Fuming, who has six farms with an estimated 10 million cockroaches. Wang sells his cockroaches for use in Chinese medicine, and the price of the roaches has rapidly increased in recent years — a pound of dried cockroaches used to cost around $2 and now costs around $20.
“With cockroaches, you can invest 20 yuan ($3.25) and get back 150 yuan ($24),” Wang told Demick.
Unfortunately, these high returns are creating a risky market, Demick writes, with cockroach farms opening at a very fast rate. It seems to be just a matter of time before the next cockroach escape.