Most people think of cockroaches as disgusting little bugs that invade their home and pantries and send them shrieking for an exterminator. Newly discovered research might have folks changing their mind about these foul smelling critters…though you would have to get over the squeamishness of the mere mention of cockroaches, if that is possible.

So what kind of cockroach produces milk?

It’s not exactly the same process as milking a cow, or even a venomous snake, and it’s not exactly milk, nor can it be extracted from any old cockroach.

Say, what? Most cockroaches lay those tiny little egg sacs that produce what seems like a zillion little baby cockroaches when they hatch, or happen to get squashed. That type of cockroach won’t work for the purpose of “milking” protein.

There is a certain species of cockroach that carry their babies much like humans do in a uterus of sorts and deliver live babies. The species is the Pacific Beetle Cockroach, also referred to as a cypress roach because cypress wood is their food and nesting place of choice.

This strange bug is native to Hawaii, but has been known to get shipped to other places. What bug hasn’t found its way into shipping containers, right?

If it’s not exactly milk what is it?

Scientist have discovered that this particular roach feeds its growing babies a protein rich substance while it is in the brood sac, which is akin to a uterus. This liquid substance forms crystals that nourish the roach babies.

It is these crystals that are rich in protein. The crystals are so rich that this particular species has the healthiest, biggest babies at birth. Good to know, right?

Unfortunately, so far the only way to extract the crystals if from the midgut of the roach embryos. Will this bring on the Animal Activist who may decide it is cruel to do this? Will scientist ever really figure out how to implement these protein rich crystals into our human diets, perhaps in the form of a roach energy drink?

How would consumers react?

Let’s face it, a cockroach is not the world’s best loved bug, in fact, most people detest these nasty little critters. How would consumers react to a drink or a food loaded with protein rich cockroach milk? Apparently, in China, some people have a different reaction to cockroaches.

Wang Fuming, in Jinan, China, operates a “cockroach farm” where he raised cockroaches by the millions. Wang says the are very healthy and has eaten them deep fried. He says his health has never been better! Wang also makes a huge living by selling his roaches to pharmaceutical companies who grind them up and put them into medicine.

Are you running off to check out what’s in those pills you are taking? Cockroaches are even used in Chinese medicine shops for a host of different ailments. Maybe the idea of cockroach milk for the protein is not such a crazy idea? But that may leave a bad taste in your mouth…

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