If We're Going to End Up Drinking Cockroach Milk, Maybe the World Should Be Over

Images via Shutterstock.
Images via Shutterstock.

A lot of signs are pointing to this being the end of times, but the fact that scientists are investigating how to harvest cockroach milk for your post-workout shake probably means that we should just let go.


A new study shows a very specific branch of the cockroach family produces a formula for its wee ones that’s a healthy mix of fat and protein. They’re called the Pacific Beetle Cockroach, so don’t go squeezing any random behind-the-fridge-roach into your coffee. These ones grow EXTRA big, because mommy’s sauce is so yummy and good.

CNN reports that this material starts out as liquid in the mom’s embryo sac, which the babies ingest and turn into a powerful leg-growing crystal substance. So it’s not exactly a milk, more like a bunch of crystals that they dig out of the roach’s abdomen. You can think of it as a sprinkling of sugar, if that’s less gross:

“Any liquid harvested from a cockroach is not true milk. At least not as we think of it,” said Becky Facer, director of school and educator programs at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta...

“The protein crystals are milk for the cockroach infant. It is important for its growth and development,” said Leonard Chavas, one of the scientists behind the research. He explained the crystals have a whopping three times the energy of an equivalent mass of buffalo milk, about four times the equivalent of cow’s milk.

Obviously, harvesting a pinch of these crystals from one insect’s belly isn’t the most efficient plan for feeding the world. Scientists are analyzing the milk’s make up to see if they could potentially reverse-engineer it for mass production. Chavas did sample the roach juice, and says it’s basically flavorless. That’s funny, I’m tasting bile just thinking about it.

I know that when under pressure, survival instincts probably kick in. Perhaps if confronted with a fountain of cockroach milk after walking miles across the vast, barren desert of America’s midlands, scorched by Donald Trump’s code-pressing fingers, I’ll press my cracked lips to the stream. But right now, I think if cockroach milk becomes the norm, I’ll just lay down and die.


The Noble Renard

You have already eaten secreted beetle resin and ground up red insect hundreds of times throughout your life. What’s the difference?