Cockroaches crawling in homes, kitchens, and elsewhere are a ghastly sight almost no one appreciates. In addition, cockroaches are known to lead to infections and spread feces everywhere they go. So why exactly do they exist? Have you ever wondered why do roaches exist?
In summary, cockroaches are useful because they recycle decaying matter and contribute to the nitrogen cycle and ecosystem. They are a key part of the food chain and a food source for predators. Cockroaches are also useful in medicine and important for research, and they’re a culinary specialty all around the world. Cockroaches have sophisticated robotics and prosthetics developments with the research done on their species.
Cockroaches have been around for so long because they are very adaptable creatures. They can survive in a wide variety of environments and eat almost anything. They are also relatively easy to breed, which means their populations can quickly increase if conditions are right.
They are successful because they are very social creatures. They can live in colonies of up to 50,000 individuals and take care of one another. This helps them survive when they are threatened by predators or other dangers.
A roach can lay hundreds of eggs in its lifetime and many of those offspring will become adults within a few months. They also have relatively short life spans, which means they don’t spend much time as vulnerable infants before becoming mature adults.
The Utility of Cockroaches: What Do You Need to Know?
It is very natural to feel that roaches are useless, but there is a larger purpose that they serve. Firstly, they are known to promote the nitrogen cycle, and they do this by recycling decay and waste.
They are an important part of the ecosystem and a food source for predators. Nature has its ways of working, and while we may not all understand this, certain organisms and systems are indispensable. They are also valuable for research and used in certain medications to treat diseases in humans.
In some parts of the world, cockroaches are even kept as pets. Besides, they are a source of food and are considered a delicacy in some cuisines.
The most important fact however, is that the cockroach, at large, is a diverse pest species with over 4,000 variants. Out of these, only four are a nuisance to human beings. Most others are crucial to the planet and aid human existence in one way or the other. So, it is not all bad as we may think.
Benefits of Cockroaches to Human Beings
While it is common for human beings to get irritated at the sight of cockroaches, they are not all evil and actually may be beneficial to the human species in more ways than one. Surprised? Let us tell you a few things that might be of interest!
Source of Food
This is the most common one and you won’t be surprised to know that some cultures and cuisines value cockroaches as a delicacy and that explains their high demand. Mexican and Thai cuisine have roaches as regulars on the menu with several dishes on offer. Crispy cockroaches are also enjoyed widely in China by frying them in oil.
Some people may ask if roaches are safe to eat? Well, sure cockroaches may have certain bacteria and viruses, but those explicitly used for food purposes are safe for consumption. Besides, cooking also reduces and almost eliminates the risk posed by raw cockroaches.
Source of Medicine
Medical science uses cockroaches pretty fairly, and this has been going on for a long time. You may not even realize it, but sometimes you may be on a medication that has cockroaches in it. Sounds gross? But it is useful and maybe a lifesaver! It is believed that ground-up cockroaches can treat ulcers.
Researchers are always using cockroaches in research to check if they can be used in the treatment of other ailments. There is a lot of undergoing research that may introduce these creatures in antibiotics soon.
The scientific community is very fond of cockroaches because they are incredibly easy to work with and can be used for multiple types of research. Even people who are just embarking on their research careers can work easily with these species, given their unique anatomy.
This is another common use of cockroaches. Roaches are raised as insect feeders as certain pets feed on insects. They are packed with some nutrients that make them indispensable as insect feeders.
Raised as Pets
This may be surprising and strange for some, but some cockroach species are even kept as pets. Think, for instance, the Madagascar hissing cockroach, which is quite a popular pet. This species is known and valued for its unique hissing sound.
Used in Prosthetic Research
This is an important area where cockroaches have time and again proved their utility to human beings. Since roaches are great at regenerating their body parts, they are significant for prosthetic research.
They are easy to work with, are considerably less aggressive than other insects, and can be propagated and raised in a lab for certain purposes. Their size also makes it easier to study their limbs. All in all, this is great for their efficacy in prosthetic research.
Cockroaches are also used to research social behavior and reproductive physiology, and work is also being done on employing them in robotics.
Benefits of Cockroaches to the Environment
There are several benefits of cockroaches to human beings but do you know they are also great for the environment and contribute to a number of natural processes helping retain the balance of the universe.
Their absence can lead to certain complications that may be hard to reverse. This makes them almost irreplaceable, and people may need to put up with their infestation once in a while though there are steps that can be taken to deal with that.
Here are a few of them you need to know about!
They Are Great Decomposers
Cockroaches are great decomposers and aid natural processes. They are resilient eaters and can help break down a host of waste such as kitchen waste, hair, and other things that are not needed in homes and elsewhere.
These creatures can break down a range of stuff, from animal carcasses to falling leaves to human waste.
Though one can argue that many other insects can also undertake this task, cockroaches are way better at doing this. They are faster than other insects and aid nature’s decomposition process pretty well.
Aid Nitrogen Cycle
Cockroaches aid the nitrogen cycle by breaking down waste materials and releasing them into the environment. What they release into the air and soil is reabsorbed by the plants and the cycle continues. This makes cockroaches essential to the health and well-being of our plant species.
The lack of cockroaches or their extermination from the environment can slow down these natural processes disturbing nature’s balance.
They Are a Crucial Part of the Food Chain
Birds, rats and mice are too dependant on roaches for their diet. This is because cockroaches are packed with several nutrients. Since roaches are present in great numbers, they also provide a steady source of food to these predators.
If the population of roaches takes a beating, we will see a marked decline in the population of mice, rats and birds. This would create an imbalance in the food chain.
Additionally, some wasps rely on roaches exclusively for their food source and a lack of cockroaches will make these wasps extinct. Hence, this would create unimaginable damage to the food chain.
Their Resilience Makes Them Special
What gives cockroaches the biggest advantage over their counterparts is that they are resilient and survive even in the most difficult situations. They adapt well to difficult situations, even in places that would be hard for other insects and organisms.
Places with extreme weather conditions are ideal for roaches, and they will find a way to survive, thereby continuing nature’s process. This makes them irreplaceable for the ecosystem.
Cockroaches Are Pollinators
Butterflies and bees are not the only sources of pollination, and cockroaches have their fair role to play in aiding pollination. They feed on flowers, and in the process the pollen sticks to their bodies. As they continue to rummage for food, the natural cycle goes on unabated.
A World without Cockroaches: What Will Happen If Roaches Went Extinct?
This is an interesting question to think about, given the nuisance roaches are considered for the environment.
Here are a few things that may get seriously impacted if there were no cockroaches:
- The earth’s eco-cycle will get disrupted, and there will be ripples in the food chain.
- There will be more waste the decay process will stop or slow down. Cockroaches are faster than most other decomposers, so we will have a backlog.
- We will have reduced nitrogen because there will no longer be cockroaches to release them.
- The food cycles will also negatively get impacted!
Should You Not Exterminate Cockroaches from Your Home?
Well, the answer is that you should totally chide away cockroaches that are infesting your home and kitchen. These invasive species do not need your protection and are doing more harm than good in the form of creating debris and waste, spreading infections and more.
The ones that are needed are already present in multitudes in nature and doing their bit. You need to keep your home free of pests and roaches at all times. If you are due for a pest control, you should go ahead and do it sans any guilt.
If it is not something huge, you can use some DIY methods to get rid of roaches from your home, but in more severe cases, you can opt for specialist pest control that will make your home roach-free.
The Final Word
Cockroaches may seem like a nuisance, but they have a significant impact on the environment and for the benefit of human beings. If there were no cockroaches, we would experience a lot of changes in the environment, including disruption of the food cycle that may be a problem for one and all.