From bacteria to viruses, nature has created nothing without a purpose. All we need to do is to quest for the reasons with a positive attitude.
If you are thinking, why do cockroaches even exist? You probably are in the same place as I was six months ago.
I had a severe roach infestation in my apartment that got on my nerves.
Cockroaches exist because they act as a transition bridge from aquatic to terrestrial life in evolution (Reference). Moreover cockroaches,
- Serve nature by helping decompose waste, pollinate rare flowers, and act as a food source for several organisms, including birds, reptiles, and humans.
- Act as a helpful research tool in many scientific subjects, including Modern and Chinese Medicine, Genetics, Neurobiology, Prosthesis, and Structural Resiliency.
- Act as a fuel cell to power miniature robots (Source).
- They are kept as pets in certain parts of the world.
After researching online and going through many scientific papers, I was fascinated and astonished at getting the answers on the purpose these roaches serve.
I love to share all these with you. Therefore, I have purposefully compiled the blog to help you get all your answers in an easy and palatable way.
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What purpose do roaches serve?
Modern science is very optimistic about the theory of evolution. It believes that life on earth evolved from a single cell under the deep oceans (Reference). It took billions of years to transit life from sea to dry land.
Cockroaches served the purpose of helping transit life from deep oceans to the land, hence playing a significant role in its evolution.
However, the cockroach’s purpose is not limited to evolution. Roaches still serve nature by acting as,
Millions of tons of organic waste are dumped in garbage bins, sewage, and landfills every year. If it were not for decomposers, the world would not be beautiful a place as it is today.
Cockroaches are excellent decomposers and play a significant role in fixing the nitrogen cycle. They will feed on anything from rotting plant leaves to bakery items. China is breeding a new variety of super roaches to help eat away 50 tons of garbage daily (Source).
You will be astonished to learn that recently cockroaches are being researched to eat and decompose plastic. It will solve a major problem the world faces (Source).
2. Part of The Food Chain
Roaches play a critical role in the food chain by supplying a dose of protein to the predators. As a result, many birds, reptiles, and even mammals prey on them.
A parasitic wasp is known to solely feed on roach eggs for survival. Rats are also known to feed on roaches. If roaches go extinct, it will be a major break in the food chain with consequences shifted up to humans.
Moreover, in some parts of the world, including Vietnam and China, the local community loves to eat them and considers roaches a delicacy. Therefore, huge facilities are being built to farm roaches and sell them across the country.
Although roaches are not a major part of pollination, they pollinate a very special exotic breed of flowers and plants in the wild tropics and lowlands.
Cockroaches are recently known to Pollinate groups, including Guttiferae and Annonaceae, commonly known as the custard apple family (References highlighted).
The contribution of cockroaches in pollination plays a crucial role in the survival of these plants.
Do you know killing a cockroach attracts more?
Are roaches Good For The Environment?
If you are curious whether roaches are good for the environment, first ask yourself how good humans are for the environment? and what humans have done for the environment besides destroying and polluting it with millions of tons of non-decomposable waste.
However, you will be happy to know that roaches are good for the environment because they are excellent decomposers. Roaches decompose organic waste and have recently been known to decompose inorganic waste.
Roaches help fix the nitrogen cycle that is crucial for the survival of plant life.
However, it doesn’t mean that you should not kill roaches. Instead, read Should I kill a cockroach? to know more about why you should kill them.
Do you know roaches are so well adapted to the environment that they can see in the dark?
Do humans need cockroaches?
As we know, excess of everything is wrong; the same is valid with roaches. If humans and roaches remain in their domain, both can benefit from each other. The real problem arises when one tries to invade the space of other.
Moreover, everything in balance keeps the cycle of life running smoothly. So let’s jump straight into why humans need cockroaches?
In many parts of the world, including Vietnam, Thailand, and China, people farm roaches as snacks. Roaches are considered a delicacy and are becoming a cash crop.
2. Insect Feeder
Recently, roaches have been gaining popularity as feeder roaches for exotic pets, including lizards, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and the Chinese water dragon.
This is because the exoskeleton of particular roaches, including Red Runner, Discoid, and Dubia roaches, are low in chitin, making them an ideal food for certain exotic pets. In addition, the Red Runner roach has a low fat-to-protein ratio compared to crickets and worms.
Some roaches, including Madagascar, are so beautiful that many people keep them as pets. They have a unique hissing sound and are known to attack other family members.
People bet on these roaches, becoming a popular sport in countries like Australia (Source).
However, it is still controversial; Chinese medicine uses roaches to treat various diseases, including stomach ulcers. In addition, they are known to heal spiritual and emotional problems and are considered a holy omens.
Recently, Modern Medicine has been using roaches to study the effect of roach extracts in fighting cancer (Reference). Other than this, various studies are being conducted to help doctors study vector-borne disease transmission and its control.
Additional Hand Picked Read: Cockroach of the sea: [Explained]
Why do we hate cockroaches?
Hate is a feeling of intense opposition and dislikes usually deriving from fear, anger, or a sense of injury. Hate is built-in to keep humans safe from threats.
Cockroaches are oily, musty-smelling, filthy dark creatures that feed on garbage and excreta. They live in the dirtiest places known to humans and transmit some of the worst diseases.
Moreover, they are known to trigger allergies and asthma episodes. All these features make us hate cockroaches more.
Why do cockroaches exist in houses?
Cockroaches are known to live in a warm and humid environment with plenty of rotting food and filth. They love to stay away from light and therefore visit us at night.
Cockroaches exist in the house because houses provide roaches with,
- A warm and humid place
- A lot of food in the form of filth, garbage, and spilled food.
- A safe shelter for breeding
A well-ventilated house kept clean and entry points closed is far least likely to be infested with roaches than a house that lacks cleanliness and is poorly ventilated.