Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Over 1.5 Million Roaches Released from Breeding Facility in China

Life cycle of the American cockroach.

Life cycle of the American cockroach.

Everyone in Dafeng, China, in the eastern province of Jiangsu has a non-stop case of the “willies” after over 1.5 million cockroaches were released from a breading facility into the surrounding area. Officials from the department of disease control are still trying to figure out how to kill them all.

The roaches were apparently not your everyday pest to the farm’s owner, Wang Pengsheng, who was raising them to sell for use in homeopathic remedies. Wang told investigators that he had invested over 100,000 yuan (about $18,000) to start up his roach farm. He planned to make a 1,000 yuan profit for every kilogram of cockroaches sold. It is not known if they were to have been sold whole or processed in some way prior to shipping.

Wang purchased 102 kilograms (nearly 225 pounds) of roach eggs, specifically, Periplaneta americana eggs. We are having trouble visualizing 225 pounds of the eggs of any insect, never mind those of the humble American cockroach. According to the University of Florida’s entomology department’s website, “Periplaneta americana (Linnaeus), is the largest of the common peridomestic cockroaches measuring on average 4 cm in length.” That’s 1.5 inches long each.

According to investigators, Wang had been breeding the roaches for about six months and had over 1.5 million of them that he was feeding “fruits and biscuits” every day. FYI at 1.5 inches long and about .5 inches wide, would be about 578 square yards of solid roach. Recently some “unknown perpetrator” trashed the plastic greenhouse where the roaches were being raised, let them out.

The reports do not specify exactly how Wang’s greenhouse was destroyed, but it is this writer’s guess that some nosy person, who was ignorant of the contents of Wang’s greenhouse, had entered it, seen over 1.5 million roaches at one time and involuntarily reacted by emitting a high-pitched scream and running as far away as possible, destroying the enclosure in the process.

Needless to say, rather than profits, Wang now faces huge losses.

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