While roaches fill us with unimaginable disgust, there’s a benefit to every gross and terrifying insect and creature we’ve come to loathe. But, you may have never thought to ask yourself, do roaches do anything good? And that’s what we are going to explore in this article.
Cockroaches are no different, with a surprising amount of benefits to both the environment and the potential health benefits for humans in medical research. This article will cover the pros and cons of these insects and why we shouldn’t hate them as much as we do – if they stay outside where they belong!
Do roaches do anything good?
Let’s take a look at a few of the good things about roaches.
Cockroaches function as decomposers by eating dead plants and animals. They aid in the decomposition of organic matter, which is important for the environment, and can help in the prevention of disease.
When compared to earthworms, Cockroaches are more successful at churning over vegetation and dead leaves, allowing them to chew through dense layers of decomposing material more efficiently.
Pollinators and fertilizers
Cockroaches are not great pollinators, but they are drawn to certain plans. They are usually inept at pollination, yet they manage to pollinate some flowers. As many as 11 plant species across the globe have been confirmed that one of their pollinators is cockroaches, according to experts.
Cockroaches also contribute to environmental protection by fertilizing plants. Plants require nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements, and these minerals can also be detected in cockroach feces. Furthermore, their feces contain nutrients and proteins that are beneficial to the health of plants.
Food for other animals
Birds, mice, lizards, frogs, toads, and other creatures rely heavily on cockroaches for sustenance and are a major source of food. These pests are loved in nature and play an important role in many ecosystems. They are also packed with protein and nutrients because cockroaches eat almost anything, including rubbish, dead vegetation, and animal manure/waste.
Roaches and medical research
Historical uses in medicine
For more than 30 years, extracts of active chemicals found in cockroaches have been employed in modern Chinese clinics, mostly to treat ailments such as “gastric and oral ulcers.”
While most of us can agree that roaches are among the most unpleasant creatures in the world, traditional practitioners of Chinese medicine think the pests have medicinal properties such as strengthening immunity, lowering inflammation, and even treating cancer, according to Discovery channel.
According to Yin Yang House, they use powdered roaches to treat “a wide variety of blood stasis such as abdominal masses and amenorrhea, numb and swollen tongue due to blood stasis and to renew joints, sinews, bones, contusions, fractures, and lacerations.”
Current uses in medicine
An impressive study by the NCBI reports that certain chemicals and ingredients that were extracted from the American cockroach have been used in the following treatments with drastic results, promising future medicine that combats a wide variety of diseases and ailments:
- Liver cancer treatment
- Reduced liver inflammation
- Anti-tumor activity and anti-bacterial effects
- New tissue growth and recovery
- Ulcer treatment
- Reduction of tumor growth
- And so much more
Potential future uses in medicine.
Cockroaches are tiny insects with ‘basic’ brains. Yet bunched up in those small brains are chemical compounds capable of killing E. coli and MRSA – two extremely dangerous bacteria. Because treating MRSA is so tough for doctors, powdered cockroach brains could assist a great deal in the future.
Two microbiologists from Nottingham University discovered that it can eliminate nearly all of the hazardous germs – nearly 100 percent – meaning the matter found in roach brains and other insects have some form of bacteria-killing compounds.
This discovery is very exciting for the scientific community, which will lead to amazing breakthroughs in treatments for future medicine.
The risks of roaches: Health, Property, and the Environment
While we know and hate cockroaches, many of us are not aware of the types of diseases and pathogens that these horrifying creatures can carry and transmit.
Let’s dive into some of the risks and dangers of being exposed to roaches and their waste.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cockroaches carry bacteria that, when left on food, can transmit staphylococcus, salmonella, and other harmful diseases. While that sounds scary, here are some other health hazards you need to be aware of.
They have been identified as vectors of intestinal diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid fever by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Roach waste can also cause asthma attacks in those who are allergic to cockroach antigens and their waste material. Many people are known to be allergic to the enzymes present in cockroach waste. Children, according to the EPA, are more sensitive to cockroach allergies than adults.
Some of the health risks associated with cockroaches and the waste they produce can include:
- Food poisoning
- Allergies and asthma reactions
- Bacteria-borne diseases like salmonella and staphylococcus
- Dysentery, diarrhea, and other harmful pathogens
Wallpaper, paperwork, books, and clothing can all be eaten by roaches – and this can result in harm that is irreversible to your prized possessions. They are also capable of chewing on food packaging, which can make you sick if they get into your food products.
Negative impact on the environment
With their feeding patterns, cockroaches can harm the ecosystem. Cockroaches will consume practically any organic material. Cockroach populations can swiftly develop and inflict major environmental harm by killing crop harvests, damaging building supplies, or even affecting natural ecosystems if left unchecked.
Cockroaches can also be harmful to the environment because they can leave feces and other waste products behind, which can pollute soil and water supplies. This trash can also entice other parasites and insects, which will cause further environmental issues.
Overall, while cockroaches may not be a significant contributor to environmental degradation on their own, their presence can contribute to a range of negative impacts on the environment, particularly when they become a nuisance pest in homes or commercial buildings. Proper management and control of cockroach populations can help manage these negative impacts and reduce risks to human health and the environment.
The answers are astonishing for the question, ‘do roaches do anything good?’ From future health benefits for medicine development to the integral role they play in many ecosystems, cockroaches are actually quite amazing.
While this doesn’t mean these creatures are welcome within our homes, it’s good to know they serve a larger purpose other than terrifying us when we turn on our lights in the middle of the night.