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300 Million Cockroaches Eat Restaurant Waste on This Chinese Farm

When the roaches die, their bodies are powdered and made into feed. It's the wonderful circle of life!

by Jelisa Castrodale
03 May 2018, 3:21am

Photo via Flickr user mikefats

Even White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders might struggle to put a positive spin on cockroaches—or, at the very least, she’d claim, “No, they really weren’t lurking under the bed in your first apartment, waiting until you slept to drag their leathery bodies across your lips.” (But oh, they were.) There are very few charming characteristics about these nightmarish insects, but a former pharmaceutical exec in China seems to have turned their ability to eat garbage into a viable way to process food waste.

Li Yanrong left his corporate job three years ago, and opened a facility that now houses more than 300 million American cockroaches, which you can find by typing “FUCK NO” into Google Maps. (It’s actually in Jinan, in the Henan province of China). The creepy little residents of his cockroach farm are capable of consuming 15 tons of food waste every day, which is roughly 25 percent of all of the waste that is left behind by all the kitchens in the district.

“These cockroaches are not afraid of anything soft, hard, sour, sweet, bitter, or spicy,” Li said, according to the South China Morning Post. He praises the cockroaches’ ability to get rid of our collective leftovers without further polluting the environment, and hopes to eventually house 4,000 tons of cockroaches (8 MILLION POUNDS), which would be able to eat their way through 200 tons of food waste every day.

Restaurants in the province deliver their scraps directly to Li’s facility, where it is ground and piped in for the hungry roaches to eat. And, because the circle of life can be weirder than The Lion King led you to believe, when these roaches die, their bodies will be powdered and used as extra protein for animal feed.

The SCMP reports that cockroach farms like Li’s are not unfamiliar in China, because Periplaneta americana are used in a number of Chinese medicine and health products. A reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald recently visited a farm operated by a company called Good Doctor which is legit crawling with 3.6 billion American cockroaches. The cockroaches raised there, in the world’s only government-certified roach lab, are “kept pristine” because they will be used for human consumption.

The company makes cockroach potions that are used to treat ulcers and skin wounds in Chinese hospitals, and makes a drinkable “Recovery New Potion” and a skin cream called “Rainforest Regeneration.” (Honest to god, I would rather eat my bodyweight in Soylent Green wafers).

“It is a good insect,” Good Doctor president Fu Neng Geng said, adding that he eats ten of them every day.

That's gonna be a no from us, dawg. But we bet those well-fed cockroaches are partying, Joe's Apartment-style.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.