Cockroaches: the new miracle cure for China s ailments

Cockroaches: the new miracle cure for China’s ailments

Cockroach farming is booming in China as the country looks for new, cheaper medicines for its rapidly ageing population

7:00AM BST 24 Oct 2013

The correct way to eat a cockroach, at least in this corner of northern China, is to fry it not once but twice in a wok of smoking hot oil.

«The second time makes the shell crispy and the inside succulent,» said 43-year-old Wang Fuming, as he tipped a bowl of freshly harvested bugs, one or two of their legs still twitching, into the sizzling pan.

Mr Wang is the leading cockroach farmer in Shandong province, with more than 22 million of the insects living in a series of nondescript, concrete bunkers in the suburbs of Jinan.

After cooking, Mr Wang gently ladled them onto a plate, their bodies plumped with the oil and their wings slightly spread, before sprinkling a packet of instant noodle powder – pickled cabbage flavour – over the dish.

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«It would be better if we had some chilli,» he apologised.

The cockroach, whose innards resemble cottage cheese, has an earthy taste, with a slight twinge of ammonia. But they have become popular in China not for their taste, but for their medicinal benefits.

«They really are a miracle drug,» said Liu Yusheng, a professor at the Shandong Agricultural university and the head of Shandong province’s Insect Association. «They can cure a number of ailments and they work much faster than other medicine.»

Sacks of dead cockroachs waiting to be shipped

Prof Liu said a cream made from powdered cockroaches is in use in some Chinese hospitals as a treatment for burns and in Korea for cosmetic facial masks.

Meanwhile, a syrup invented by a pharmaceutical company in Sichuan promises to cure gastroenteritis, duodenal ulcers and pulmonary tuberculosis.

«China has the problem of an ageing population,» explained Prof Liu. «So we are trying to find new medicines for older people, and these are generally cheaper than Western medicine. Also we have a tradition of eating bugs here in Shandong.»

For a decade, Mr Wang farmed another type of insect, Eupolyphaga Sinensis, which is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

But in the past two years, the demand for cockroaches has soared, and Mr Wang has switched his entire production to Periplaneta americana, or the American cockroach, a copper-coloured insect that grows to just over an inch and a half.

«These are not the same ones you see in your home, those are German cockroaches,» he said. «There are hundreds of species of cockroaches, but only this one has any medicinal value. It is native to Guangdong province.»

Intrepid Telegraph reporter Malcolm Moore samples a fried cockroach

Inside his bunkers are hundreds of nests, bolted together from concrete roof tiles, that line the shelves of dark corridors.

The doorways are lined with mesh, but some cockroaches have clustered on the low ceilings overhead and the air is heavy with a fetid stink. «That is just how they smell,» Mr Wang shrugged.

Last month was harvest time across Shandong. As farmers elsewhere in the province picked apples and cut corn, Mr Wang reaped huge sackfuls of roaches.

«We kill them before they reach four months old, because then their wings are fully grown and they can fly,» he said. «They are very easy to kill, we take large vats of boiling water into the corridors and dunk the nests into them.»

His entire output is sold to pharmaceutical companies, he said, and the price has risen strongly. Since 2011, he has quintupled production, to more than 100 tons a year, and he has eight workers.

Outside his farm, another man is waiting to be shown around. Since this spring, Mr Wang has had 100 enquiries from would-be cockroach farmers and has helped to build 30 other farms.

«Oh, the money is good,» said Xiao Zhongwu, a wiry 49-year-old who has a smaller set of farms in the countryside near Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius. «I have a trucking business too, transporting marble, paper and farm products for local companies. But that brings in pocket money: it is cockroaches that bring in the big money.»

Mr Xiao said he had invested £160,000 in building a series of small farms, their windows taped over with plastic sheeting to stop the cockroaches from escaping.

But, he said, he earns at least £30,000 a year from the insects, and up to £90,000 in a good year. «The pharmaceutical companies set the price, but I stockpile my cockroaches when the supply is plentiful to wait for when the demand picks up.»

Mr Xiao feeds his cockroaches a «special formula» of mashed up vegetables and waste to produce the high levels of amino acids that his buyers demand.

But, he said, farming the bugs is very simple. «Just keep them warm and they are happy.»

Until now, the industry, while booming, has remained mostly under the radar. But in August, a million cockroaches escaped from a farm in Jiangsu province, making headlines in the Chinese media.

Wang Pengsheng, a 38-year-old former engineer, said he had bought the plot of land to raise the insects after six months of research into the industry. He bought more than 80kg of eggs for £10,000 and set up his farm.

But while he was out inspecting the goats and pigs he was raising elsewhere, the local government deemed his building illegal and knocked it down.


«When I came back in the evening, everything was gone, reduced to rubble,» he said. «Afterwards, a team of exterminators came around to try to kill all the escaped cockroaches.»

Mr Wang said he was determined to start again. «The problem is that the government has been under pressure from people saying the cockroaches are pests and they should not let me rebuild.»

In Jinan, the other Mr Wang said he had heard of the misfortune suffered by his namesake. But, he added, he has not had any recent break outs from his farm. «In the beginning a few got away. But since we covered all the windows and doors with mesh, they have been well trapped,» he said.

Public Relations: Offering Businesses A Competitive Advantage

Public relations has been defined as the interaction of a business with its customer base, and or with prospective customers. This interaction can take various forms, which may include events such as trade shows, marketing promotions, customer relations initiatives and other such efforts in which the business and the public interacts. Many larger companies have an investor relations department for specialized interactions. (Are your shoulders wide enough to carry a company’s reputation? For more information, read The Marketing Director’s Pitch.)

Public Relations: The New Marketing?
Public relations is also a catch-all term that means the dissemination of newsworthy information to the media – niche magazines and trade journals, newspapers, radio, television and the internet – to get publicity. To maximize the sales potential of any business, large or small, a public relations program should be part of the master marketing plan. (Marketing is a vital component of a large sustainable business. To find out more, check out The Lucrative World Of Third-Party Marketing.)

No matter what a company sells – goods, services or both – a smart public and media relations program can have big returns and it may not necessarily require a big budget. Generally — but not always — public relations may be less expensive than advertising, and is best used as a complement to the marketing efforts of a business.

Advertising expenses typically include a creative fee for copywriting, art and or photography, model fees, along with additional costs which accumulate even before the costs of buying media – print, broadcast (television, radio, etc.), internet, billboard or other. by contrast, a public relations program (while perhaps less costly) can create a major impact among both established and potential customers for the goods and or services of a company. the result of effective public relations can be increased sales, a competitive edge over business rivals and eventually, improved profitability.

But there’s another aspect of public relations that can be just as important. When things go bad for a company such as the necessity for a product recall, a major product liability law suit, a bankruptcy or some other potentially damaging situation, an effective public relations initiative can minimize or even eliminate the negative fallout. In these cases, public relations is often called «crisis management.»

Reflecting the importance of public relations as a marketing tool on a par with traditional advertising is the recent trend of major advertising agencies buying global public relations firms or establishing full-service public relations divisions within their agencies.

What Effective Public Relations Can AccomplishThe following are some of the positive outcomes of a successful public relations department:

  • Attract attention to a company and raise its visibility in a competitive market niche
  • Generate interest in and enthusiasm for a company’s goods and or services
  • Create «buzz» when a company introduces new products or services — when people begin to talk about the business, word of mouth can serve as the ideal form of advertising.
  • Enhance the credibility of a company and polish its image.
  • Defuse a crisis if and when it occurs, minimizing its potential damage.

Public Relations and PublicityNewsworthy public relations events or occurrences may get publicity for a business. But the media must be informed of the event or occurrence. This is usually done by sending a news release or press release (the terms are interchangeable) to the media in which the information is intended to appear.

Newsworthy events may include:

  • The introduction of a new product or service
  • An executive’s promotion or retirement
  • The opening or closing of a manufacturing plant or retail outlet
  • The acquisition or sale of subsidiaries or new firms
  • Company-sponsorship – entirely or partially – of a charity event or fund raiser
  • Funding college or university scholarships
  • Demonstrations of new, complex products (for example, phones with new applications)
  • Free services for seniors, children, veterans or any special group of people, to build traffic and introduce potential customers to a business
  • Contests related to a specific business
  • Special events tied to a specific business (for example, a book store may host a public reading by a celebrated author with a new book)

Whatever the business, there may be some way for it to attract media attention to the company through an innovative public relations effort. (For tips on how to create a successful business, read 9 Tips For Growing A Successful Business.)

What Won’t Get PublicitySales events are not public relations initiatives, and are not likely to get media exposure.

No matter how the sales events are promoted – clearance sales, fire sales, bankruptcy sales, lost-our-lease sales, etc., are best publicized through advertising because editors will not, in most cases, regard these as news stories.

Writing the Press Release and Contacting the MediaThe news release describing the planned public relations event may be written in-house by a regular employee of a business, or a public relations consultant or agency may be hired to provide that service.

If the news release is to be written by an outside public relations consultant or agency, competitive price bids may be solicited from several sources. There are several advantages to hiring an outside consultant or agency to handle the news release.

  • The release will be written by a professional writer and will contain all the relevant facts, presented succinctly, with no misspellings, and will be grammatically correct – reflecting well on the business and engaging the attention and interest of the recipient.
  • The professional public relations consultants and agency account executives will also usually have contacts in the media and will know where to send the release.
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Once the release is written, determine in advance where it should be sent. Telephone the media outlets targeted and get the name, e-mail address and phone number of the editor to whom the story will be sent. A business related story – an executive promotion, the introduction of a new product, the opening of a new store, or any similar business related occurrence — should be sent to the business editor.

A story unrelated to business, such as sponsorship of charity event or a contest, should be sent to the city editor or feature editor. There are editors with similar functions at all media including internet sites. Releases should be sent, via the United States Postal Service and or via e-mail as a backup, in accordance with the criteria mentioned above.

Crisis ManagementSometimes things go wrong for a firm. Serious problems such as a product recall, a product liability law suit, strikes, government shutdowns or bankruptcies may damage the image of the company affected.

Public relations experts who handle problems such as these – they’re also called crisis managers – advise as follows:

  • Address the media and public as soon as possible. Do not stonewall the facts. The longer disclosure is delayed, the more damage is done to the company’s image.
  • The company spokesperson must deal with the media and public with complete candor. The media will eventually reveal any distortions or omissions of truth – that’s their job.
  • Conceal none of the facts. The media will eventually uncover anything concealed — that’s also their job.
  • Retain competent legal counsel if necessary.

ConclusionCompanies that understand the principles of public relations, and employ them regularly, may enjoy a competitive advantage over rivals which are not public relations savvy. Among the beneficial results of strategic public relations are increased sales, increased customer traffic, a continual «buzz» or talk about a company which is frequently mentioned positively in the media, and a brightly shining image in the eyes of their customers and potential customers.

There are many additional aspects, complexities and subtleties of public relations. This article is meant only as an introduction to the art and craft of public relations and much useful additional material is widely available.(For further reading, check out Small Business: It’s All About Relationships.)

What on Earth Is Diatomaceous Earth? (Hint: It’s for Fleas)

For pet parents seeking a natural way to ward off pests, diatomaceous earth (DE) for fleas has long been considered an effective option. But if you’ve never heard of DE, you probably have questions: Does diatomaceous earth kill fleas effectively? How do you use diatomaceous earth to kill fleas? What is this stuff, anyway? Can you even pronounce it?

Read on to learn more about this unique, naturally occurring substance, and how to use diatomaceous earth for fleas on dogs and cats.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth (pronounced die-uh-tuh-MEY-shuhs, by the way) is actually made up of single-celled organisms called “diatoms.” The skeletons of these diatoms are made of a natural substance called silica, and over long periods of time, their skeletons accumulate and fossilize in the sediment of lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. The resulting sedimentary deposits are mined and used to create what we know as diatomaceous earth.

Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Pets

Diatomaceous earth uses include the control and prevention of fleas, as well as bed bugs, ticks, spiders, cockroaches, crickets and many other pests in outdoor and indoor settings. There are different grades of diatomaceous earth that are used for a variety of jobs, but as Dr. Michele Yassom, a holistic veterinarian based in New Paltz, New York, specifies, the one that you should use with your pets exclusively is the 100-percent food-grade diatomaceous earth. DiatomaceousEarth Food Grade Powder is an example of an appropriate form of diatomaceous earth for cats and dogs. Most clients use it as a routine natural flea treatment, Dr. Yassom says.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas?

Using its abrasive, sharp edges, DE works by penetrating an insect’s exoskeleton and absorbing its oils and fats, thus drying them out and killing them.

“The diatom fossils are attracted to the wet, slippery lipid layer of the parasites, and scratches them with their sharp edges and dries them out,” Dr. Yassom says.

But while diatomaceous earth can kill adult fleas, it’s not effective at killing insect eggs. That means pet parents should continue treating their pet for a minimum of two weeks, Dr. Yassom says.

How Do I Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Fleas?

Diatomaceous earth for cats and dogs is only effective at killing insects and parasites when it comes into direct contact with them, so according to what type of parasites you are dealing with, your treatment method may differ.

For internal parasites, Dr. Yassom says, you can use DiatomaceousEarth Food Grade Powder in your pet’s food to help eliminate hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, pinworms and tapeworms. Every pet is different, so talk with your veterinarian about treatment duration and dosages, to ensure you treat your dog or cat effectively.

For external parasites, such as fleas and ticks, DE can be used topically. For dogs, you can use it in a powder form, like the Natural Chemistry De Flea Carpet Powder, which combines food-grade diatomaceous earth with essential oil extracts. It can be used on carpets and rubbed into your dog’s coat, but take care not to get the powder near a dog’s eyes, nose or mouth.

Again, whether you’re interested in using diatomaceous earth internally or topically, it is very important to discuss it with your veterinarian in advance, so that you can be sure you are using it effectively and safely.

Things to Know Before Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas

  • Always store diatomaceous earth in a clean, dry area. It’s best to keep it in a sealed container or bag. Diatomaceous earth can last indefinitely as long as it is stored in a dry and clean container.
  • Use extreme caution when applying or handling DE. Since diatomaceous earth is so incredibly absorbent, the powder form can act as an irritant to the skin, eyes, mouth and lungs—both for you and your pets. It is very important to take the proper precautions, like talking to your veterinarian and reading all instructions on the bag, to make sure you are using it safely and correctly.
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By: Jasmine Chang
Jasmine Chang has been a New York City-based fashion editor and consultant for over 25 years. She adores dogs because of their authenticity and the fact that they never judge what people wear. She lives in Brooklyn with her very spoiled Frenchie, Harry.

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