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1 million cockroaches on the loose after escaping from farm

By Mason White 5:25 AM August 27, 2013

By: Debbie Gross
(Scroll down for video) People are freaking out after more than one million cockroaches escaped from a farm in China.

The cockroaches have escaped from a farm in China where they were bred for use in traditional medicine, according to people familiar with the incident.

The cockroaches fled the facility in Dafeng, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, in order to attack nearby corn fields earlier this month after an unknown suspect destroyed the plastic greenhouse in which they were being raised.

The disease control authorities have sent five investigators to the area in order to figure out a plan on how to kill the insects.

Farm owner Wang Pengsheng invested more than 100,000 yuan, or about $16,000 to purchase 102 kilos of Periplaneta americana eggs after spending six months developing a business plan.

The cockroach is generally considered a pest, but believers in traditional Chinese medicine, who use plants and animals, including endangered species extracts, claim they can treat diseases such as cancer, reduce inflammation and improve immunity from insects.

By the time the greenhouse damage was discovered, more than 1.5 million cockroaches were born and were being fed with food included “fruit and biscuits every day,” Wang said.

He had hoped to make around 1,000 yuan profit per kilo of cockroaches sold, according to the source, but now, he faces losses of hundreds of thousands of yuan.