Can You Eat Cockroaches? ( Superfood ? )

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Some cultures have been eating cockroaches for thousands of years, and most of them have a special way of preparing them like deep frying in order to kill the bacteria and potential parasites with which the cockroaches might be contaminated.

While it is true that cockroaches can be consumed as food, it is important to note that they should be thoroughly cooked before consumption. Cockroaches can be a surprising source of protein and fiber, and they are even incorporated into various dishes in Southeast Asian cuisine. While certain cultures consider cockroach delicacies to be exquisite and beneficial to the human body, it is worth mentioning that opinions on this matter can vary greatly.

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No matter what kind of local or even global SHTF event happens one thing is for certain, cockroaches will not only survive but they will actually thrive. According to several scientists in the case of a nuclear war, one of the only creatures to survive will be the cockroach. There could come a time for all of us after a major SHTF event that we will actually be looking for cockroaches so we can catch them and eat them.

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Eating cockroaches is also considered a normal thing in some Asian countries like China for example. Some of these countries even consider eating cockroaches a delicacy only for the rich, usually, these expensive cockroach dinners come with some kind of “secret” sauce and in some cases even with edible gold.

Some scientists even claim that if everybody could start eating cockroaches we could end world hunger in a matter of years. Most people are disgusted not by only the notion of eating cockroaches but even by them simply seeing one. This is a natural response, as our body through our evolution in order to keep us safe developed special triggers, like the gag reflex when you smell spoiled food or rotting meat. On a side note, if you have read my article Can you eat dirt to survive? ( What are Mud Cakes? ), you probably know that there are a lot of people who actually crave dirt.

There are two common pests widespread in the USA, bed bugs and cockroaches. Both of these can easily spread especially if you live in an apartment or in a house in close proximity to your neighbor. Most people instead of eating them will call an exterminator and who can blame them, these creatures spread a lot of diseases, and once your house gets infested it will be even harder to kill them.

Can You Eat Cockroaches?

While it is technically possible to eat cockroaches, it is not a common practice nor is it recommended for several reasons. Cockroaches are often associated with unsanitary environments and can carry various pathogens and bacteria, which can pose a health risk if consumed. Additionally, their exoskeletons contain a tough outer layer that can be difficult to digest and may cause discomfort or digestive issues.

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Cockroaches Are High In Protein

According to several scientific studies, eating cockroaches is actually very healthy. Cockroaches are jam-packed with protein, and when you consider that the pound for pound value of the cockroach is actually higher than beef or pork. Cockroaches, in general, tend to carry a lot of diseases and in some cases, they can even be contaminated with pesticides. As cockroaches are fairly quick to adapt to pesticides it is not uncommon to see living cockroaches even after a major pest control operation.

In Asian countries where eating cockroaches is normal they generally deep fry them in oil, this way the hot oil will kill the bacteria and parasites which the cockroaches might carry. Do note that cockroaches eaten as a delicacy in Asian countries are not the same cockroaches that you find in your house. These cockroaches are purposely bred to be eaten, and most of their diet is other insects. During extreme survival situations, some people might be forced to eat moss, in this case eating cockroaches is far better than eating moss, if you need more information on it, check out my article Can you eat moss? ( Top 8 Edible Mosses ).

Cockroaches Contain A Lot Of Calories

In addition to having a lot of proteins, cockroaches also contain a lot of amino acids and calories. Depending on what type of cockroach you are eating some might even contain magnesium and zinc which are both needed for our body’s natural balance. There are some people that exclusively eat cockroaches, and most of these people are fairly healthy, and in a major SHTF situation where you might find yourself starving, eating some cockroaches might end up saving your life.

Cockroaches Contain Fat

Pound for pound cockroaches have more fat than some meats which you can find at your local butcher. Most creatures need fat in order to survive, this is the same case both for people and insects alike. Cockroaches that lay eggs tend to have a much higher fat content which will be used by the eggs to develop the small cockroaches. For the most part, the fat from cockroaches is extremely healthy, as long as the cockroaches have been raised for human consumption. If you are wondering if you can eat moss then check out my recent article Can you eat pine needles? ( Top 4 Edible Pine Needles ).

Some Cockroaches Can Produce Milk

Odds are that you have never probably heard the words cockroach and milk in the same sentence unless a cockroach fell into the milk. However, there are over 4000 types of cockroaches and most of these have been here even before the dinosaurs and they will still be here long after we have vanished. Most scientists would claim that from an evolutionary stand of point, humanity is the most successful “creature” on earth, but cockroaches beat us from an evolutionary, survivability, and adaptability standpoint in the long run.

Out of the 4000 types of cockroaches, most lay eggs, but some give birth to live cockroaches that rely on their mother’s milk to survive. This is the case of the cockroach named Pacific Beetle, which feeds its young with milk. The milk of the Pacific Beetle contains small crystals that contain vitamins, minerals, sugars, fats, and nutrients in addition to the rich protein content of the milk. Scientists consider this cockroach milk a superfood, as no other type of milk known to man is as nutritious as cockroach milk.

The cockroach milk is 3 times more nutritious than even buffalo milk, as it contains 3 times more nutrients, fats, and proteins. Although before you rush out to your local Walmart demanding nutritious cockroach milk, keep in mind that it isn’t mass-produced yet. Health and fitness companies would have already jumped on the cockroach milk trend in order to milk the customers for as much money as possible.

The problem with the cockroach milk is that the Pacific Beetle from which the cockroach milk comes is actually very rare. Breeding and harvesting their milk in large enough quantities will also be extremely difficult and expensive, after some initial calculations, it would probably be more expensive than gold.

What Happens If You Eat Cockroach Eggs?

Cockroaches carry their eggs for a fair amount of time, during which they can come in contact with different kinds of bacteria and even dangerous chemicals like pesticides. Although there have been no studies made on the side effects of eating cockroach eggs or their potential health benefits, but it is fairly safe that it isn’t a smart idea to eat cockroach eggs as they do carry a lot of different kinds of diseases and illnesses. If you read my article Best survival movies ( Top 18 ), you will find a lot of examples where these survivalists not only eat cockroach eggs but other different kinds of insects as well.

People who eat cockroaches generally eat them whole, including the eggs. Harvesting the actual egg sack from cockroaches is kind of pointless and time-consuming, so instead if you are going to eat cockroach eggs make sure that it is prepared for eating, mainly deep-fried in oil. As for what is the nutritional value of cockroach eggs I couldn’t find any study to refer to but odds are it contains the same nutrients as most eggs of other insects like proteins, fats, and sugars.

Generally speaking, if you eat cockroach eggs nothing will happen as long as it is deep-fried but do not pick up and eat cockroach eggs that you find in your home, these are not for consumption, just pick it up with a napkin and flush it down the toilet. Do not squash it as the broken eggs might release the small cockroaches and these can run almost as fast as the adult cockroaches which is around 3 miles per hour and they can easily hide away in small places and quickly multiply.

Are Cockroaches Poisonous?

Cockroaches are not poisonous or venomous, although they do bite if they have a chance. The bite itself is relatively painless and doesn’t do any real damage, the problem comes from the infection after the bite. Most common household cockroaches are carrying a lot of different kinds of bacteria, parasites, and in some cases even pesticides. Most people do think that a cockroach will bite if it is threatened, this is not true most bites from cockroaches are feeding behavior, if you find yourself being swarmed by cockroaches biting you then they are probably starving and desperate for any food.

Cockroaches usually travel a lot for finding food, during their travels, they cross a lot of different areas of your house and garbage. They can smell rotting food from fairly far away and they do not shy away from eating rotting food. Most people who get some kind of infection from a cockroach bite think the cockroaches are poisonous, when in fact the bacteria which the cockroach carries have caused the infection. If you are wondering how long can dogs survive in the wild then check out my recent article Can dogs survive in the wild? ( For how long? ).

Eating Cockroaches In China

If you have ever visited China you have probably come across cockroach food stands in local markets. Most of these cockroach food stands are targeted at tourists, as most of them still think of China as a mystical place. Most people think that every Chinese person eats cockroaches as it is part of their diet, this is far from the truth, there are some of them who do eat cockroaches fairly regularly, but not the majority of the Chinese population eats them.

Cockroaches have been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years in one form or another. Cockroaches were bred to be eaten, to fight, and even to create art. You might think that cockroaches can not possibly create art, but have you ever entered a modern art exhibit and could you tell the difference if the art was created by a man, a cockroach, or a cockroach man disguised as a sea cucumber… probably not…

In recent history cockroaches in China have been bred even to fight the ongoing battle with thrash. There are currently several facilities that use genetically modified and engineered cockroaches that eat trash, mostly food waste. These cockroaches have been named the super cockroach, in one facility it could be as many as 7 billion cockroaches eating the daily food waste of humans.

Nobody knows yet the full-scale destruction these cockroaches could do if they escape due to some natural disaster, but I bet it is going to make one hell of a movie, based on real-life events.

What Happens If You Eat Cockroach Poison?

You do not have to directly ingest cockroach poison to be in danger, if you have eaten a cockroach that has already ingested cockroach poison you could still be in danger, depending on the quantity of the ingested cockroach poison. Cockroach poison is made of several chemicals but the most dangerous one if you eat it is aluminum phosphide, which when it comes in contact with water it creates phosphine gas.

This created phosphine gas is generally what kills the cockroach but it also could be fatal to people. By law, all poisons, no matter if they are made for cockroaches, or not have to have a universal antidote, in the case of cockroach poison it is activated charcoal. The activated charcoal must be administered as soon as possible, in order to stop further complications of the patient. Some cockroach poisons use a kind of nerve agent that disrupts the ability of the cockroach’s nerves to communicate with each other.

Most of these nerve agent poisons contain pyrethrum, which is extremely dangerous to humans if it is ingested in large enough quantities it could be deadly. The problem with cockroach poisons that contain pyrethrum is that you might not even notice the harmful effects at the moment.

What Is The Difference Between Cockroaches And Shrimp?

There is a lot of confusion regarding cockroaches and shrimps, some people do actually think that shrimps are some sort of aquatic cockroach. Most people make the assumption based on some similarities that the two completely different kinds of animals have, let’s face it both of them look like insects. Some who have tasted cockroaches and shrimp might even argue that they taste the same, although the cockroach and the shrimp come from entirely different families.

Shrimps come from the Penaeoidea family and cockroaches come from Blattodea family, basically, a cockroach is considered an insect, and a shrimp is considered crustacea.

Key Takeaways

  • While cockroaches are edible and consumed by some cultures, they are generally not considered a common or preferred food source in many parts of the world.
  • Cockroaches can be a potential food source during survival situations, as they are high in protein and fat. However, it is crucial to ensure that the cockroaches are from clean and safe environments, free from pesticides or other contaminants.
  • Before consuming cockroaches or any other insects, it is advisable to research proper preparation methods, such as cooking or freezing, to eliminate potential pathogens and ensure their safety for consumption.