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COCKROACHES – ASSET TO OUR WORLD?

The thought of a cockroach would send many of us running in the opposite direction. But what we fail to understand is that out of the 4000 species of cockroaches that roam the earth, only around 30 cockroach species are classified as pests.

The lion’s share of the different cockroach species chooses to live out their life quietly in the woods and jungles without bothering any humans, yet a roach infestation is the nightmare of every homeowner over centuries. But we fail to consider the impact it would have on our ecosystem if they were to disappear one day altogether.

Though it might be difficult to admit, cockroaches are beneficial to us in more ways than one. If you are interested in how they act as food sources for other animals, act as scavengers, become an essential part of the nitrogen cycle, read on to find out more. Scientists are also fascinated by their antibacterial molecules in addition to the role they play in agriculture and medicine. Engineers are even studying the cockroaches to create new robotic designs.

 THE ROLE OF COCKROACHES IN THE NITROGEN CYCLE

Cockroaches are vital to the nitrogen cycle without which the ecological balance of Mother Nature would be affected badly. When you look at the lush tropical forests, you forget that without cockroaches the dead and decaying vegetation in these forests would take a long while to decay and stifle the growth of new plants. As these plants are rich in nitrogen, it passes onto the cockroaches as they feed on them. This trapped nitrogen is passed back to the soil in the form of cockroach feces. The next generation of plants obtains their nitrogen from the soil thus completing the nitrogen cycle.

So the next time you admire the beautiful forests nearby, try to remember how cockroaches are good for our natural ecosystem.

 ROBOTICS - THE WAY TO THE FUTURE

Engineers have been working on AI robots for several years now. But as they design bodies for these futuristic robots, they prefer to study cockroaches by putting them in mazes, on treadmills, up walls and so on to understand their movements better. The advantage of using is that they have very quick reflexes as well as their unnatural speed during movement.

 CARE FOR SOME COCKROACH BRAINS?

You will be surprised to know that recent studies by scientists have identified nine antibiotic molecules in the brains of cockroaches that protect them from lethal bacteria. The brilliant researchers at the Britain’s University of Nottingham were able to show how even the MRSA bacteria don’t stand a chance against these antibacterial molecules.  So the next time you scream bloody murder when you spot these pesky critters, keep in mind the use of cockroach in medicine for the future.

COCKROACHES IN FARMING - AN UNEXPECTED CONNECTION

Presently farmers are on the lookout for more natural methods of controlling pests that destroy their crops rather than opting for chemical sprays. Currently, the Agricultural researchers are taking a look at an Asian cockroach, to see if it could benefit cotton farmers by preying on the nests without affecting the plants.

So if you own a farm, keep a lookout, someday cockroaches could prove quite useful to you.

 HOW COCKROACHES ACT AS SCAVENGERS

A scavenger by definition refers to any animal that feeds on carrion, dead plant material or refuse. The cockroach family clearly can be classified as scavengers as they will eat anything they find as they scrounge for food to survive. Scavengers are essential for the ecosystem to remain balanced as they help clean up the world in addition to making the soil richer in nutrients.

 COCKROACHES IN THE FIELD OF MEDICINE

The detested American cockroaches are much sought after in China as they believe it is a miracle drug. Apparently, according to Chinese scholars, cockroaches can cure innumerable ailments in addition to working quite fast.  Some examples are:  

  • The cream made from powdered cockroaches is used to treat burns.
  • Syrup made from roaches can help cure several gastroenteritis troubles.
  • Crushed roaches are applied on wounds for pain relief.

The ingenious Chinese have been very good at identifying the medical importance of cockroaches, and we need to learn a few lessons from them.

So the next time you are getting ready to get rid of the roach infestation in your home, think about the different advantages of having them around as well. Even though sharing your roof with cockroaches can cause a lot of health problems, they are helping researchers find new cures for our benefit.

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