Have you ever wondered why insects like cockroaches exist? These pests cause destruction and harbor several bacteria such as staphylococcus, salmonella, and streptococcus.
Cockroaches tend to multiply rapidly. And they are not so easy to eliminate. Why? They boast a stretchy membrane, making it easier for them to squeeze into crevices and cracks.
However, there must be a reason for cockroaches’ existence. By the way, all plants and animals exist for a purpose. But what is the reason we have cockroaches on our planet? Is it to invade homes, harbor, and spread diseases? Or, do they have any other special purpose? Read to learn more!
Why Do Cockroaches Exist?
First and foremost, cockroaches exist for a purpose. It is also safe to say they don’t get the accolades they deserve. Cockroaches have bad public relations. But that is because the home invaders make people believe all cockroaches are pests.
However, not all cockroaches are a pest. Some of these tiny creatures are a treasure to our planet. In other words, without cockroaches, certain things may go wrong in our world.
Furthermore, over 4500 species of cockroaches exist, but 99.7 percent of them don’t invade homes. They are independent and don’t have time to feast on our trash.
Now, let’s discuss more on why cockroaches exist. But don’t be afraid, none of such reasons is to spread diseases to humans.
#1: Cockroaches are incredible decomposers:
Did you know that cockroaches are decomposers? Yes, they are. These tiny creatures are known as “resilient eaters.” They can eat anything. They can consume your kitchen foods and organic wastes like skin cells and hair.
However, other animals and insects fulfill the role of decomposers. But cockroaches are special in that they can feast on any waste in large numbers and can spend days doing so.
Cockroaches can feed on animal carcasses, decaying wood, fallen leaves, feces, and other waste products. And the ones in the wild popularly live in wooded areas.
What roaches do is eat and decompose fallen leaves. So without them, organic wastes will stack up quickly.
#2: Cockroaches contributes to the food chain:
Cockroaches exist because the food chain won’t be complete without them. A wide range of animals depends on roaches for their protein, fiber, and other nutritional needs. So, if these insects cease to exist, the food chain would take a big hit.
Birds, lizards, rats, and even mice feed on cockroaches. So, the extinction of cockroaches would bring about a massive decline in the population of these animals. The effect will also go up in the food chain, affecting humans.
So, we need cockroaches to keep on existing. It is necessary to keep the food chain intact.
#3: Cockroaches exist to pollinate flowers:
What do the likes of cockroaches, bees, and butterflies, have in common? It is simple. They are pollinators. While searching for foods, cockroaches may attach themselves to flowers, trapping pollen grains to their bodies.
As these cockroaches move to other flowers, they drop the pollen grains and pollinate the flowers.
So, cockroaches aren’t just decomposers but big-time pollinators. Researchers have identified the French Guiana, Malaysia Borneo, and M brevinines (Chilean wild roach) as pollinators.
However, we believe several other species of roaches might be pollinators. But more research is necessary to unveil them.
#4: Nitrogen cycle:
Nitrogen is essential for plant growth. Thus, in its absence, the plant can’t grow. In turn, there will be no food (plants) for animals and people to consume.
So, what does cockroaches’ existence have to do with the nitrogen cycle? Well, everything!
Here is a simple explanation. Plants pull nitrogen from the soil. So, when animals eat plants, they store their nitrogen in their bodies.
Roaches are big-time decomposers. They can flood dead plants and animals for days. When roaches feed and decompose organic matter, they release nitrogen into the soil and air, which plants reabsorbs and uses. And then, the cycle continues.
So, roaches exist because plants need them to maintain a healthy ecosystem. And when plants’ ecosystems are in good shape, humans will benefit. More nitrogen in the soil means healthier plants for people and animals to consume.
Will plants die if cockroaches cease to exist? No, they won’t. By the way, cockroaches aren’t the only decomposers out there. Nevertheless, if they cease to exist, there’ll be a huge gap in the plants’ ecosystem.
How Cockroaches Are Beneficial To Us
When we talk about cockroaches, the ones that invade homes come to mind. They are the closest to us and are often seen in and around homes.
But let’s be honest. These home invaders don’t offer anything besides spreading diseases, causing destruction, and dirt.
So, when we talk about beneficial cockroaches, we refer to the wild ones. Many species of cockroaches reside in the wild.
Only a handful of these insects invade homes. And the ones in the wild are quite beneficial to humans. But they don’t get the publicity and accolades they deserve.
Let’s discuss the benefits cockroaches offer.
#1: Cockroaches are foods in some parts of the world:
You must have seen videos or reports of people eating cockroaches in several parts of the world. These insects are a staple in some of these regions.
Does the Western world eat cockroaches? Not at all! They are seen and treated as pests.
See countries where cockroaches are consumed the most.
How people prepare cockroaches in these regions differs. For example, cockroaches are double-fried in oil in China for a soft inside and crisp outer part. People also consume roaches with or without the legs and head.
In Thailand and Malaysia, cockroaches are a popular delicacy. They are mostly consumed grilled, fried, or boiled.
In parts of the world where cockroaches are a delicacy, people consume roaches not only because of their nutritional benefits. In China, people call cockroaches “a little strong!” Why? They can survive for days, even when cut into two halves.
There is also a belief that cockroaches boast strong immunity. And humans can easily enjoy this benefit when they consume cockroaches. Other proposed effects cockroach consumption can offer you include sore throat relief, tonsillitis, and even fluid buildup.
Now the question is, why do cockroaches that invade our homes considered unsafe to consume? The answer is simple. They have been exposed to pesticides, poisons, and even bacteria.
However, the ones in the wild aren’t exposed to these unhealthy conditions. Farmers also raise cockroaches under hygienic conditions, making them safe for consumption. Besides, how people cook cockroaches helps eliminate disease-causing bacteria and viruses the insects may have.
So, cockroaches serve as food in other parts of the world. But in the Western world, these insects will never find their way into people’s hearts and plates.
#2: Application in robotics:
The use of cockroaches in robotics has brought a massive breakthrough in the field. Robotics engineers have built robots, thanks to inspiration from cockroaches.
The segmented limbs of these insects provided a simple template to create these mechanical robots.
#3: Cockroaches are useful in medicine:
Cockroaches have been used in medicine even before now. They were used to cure over 30 different ailments, such as boils, heart disease, warts, indigestion, etc.
In China, cockroaches are not only a delicacy. Hospitals also use them to fix several health challenges. Some hospitals use cream formulated from powdered cockroaches for burns treatment. Patients suffering gastroenteritis may also receive cockroach syrup.
Scientists have also studied how these tiny creatures can help prevent infectious diseases, and the latest discovery is groundbreaking. They grounded up each part of cockroaches to see which could destroy bacteria, and it was clear that the brain was the answer.
So, it is only a matter of time before we have cockroach medicine. And even though you may not consume cockroaches’ ground up like that, the fact that one is still ingesting cockroaches will make most people uncomfortable.
So, why do cockroaches exist? Now, you have seen the various reasons. You can see how important these tiny creatures are to our planet.
Cockroaches are decomposers. Their ability to break down organic matter such as plants helps replenish nitrogen in the soil, which plants need to survive.
Cockroaches also exist because they play a crucial role in the food chain. Many animals require them to survive. Thus, to have a balanced ecosystem, cockroaches have to exist.
Cockroaches are also important to human beings. But note that when we mention cockroaches, we aren’t talking about the home invaders but the ones in the wild.