We’ve all been there in one way or another – you awake at 3 am and groggily make your way to the bathroom. No need for the light you think, it’ll just wake me up. And then, halfway through relieving yourself, you feel a giant thing scrabble madly down the back of your neck, under your shirt and across your unprotected back.
That’s the type of image that comes to mind for most people when they hear about “cockroach composting,” or at least that’s what I gather from the facial expressions I get when I bring it up at polite dinner parties.
It’s not like that though! I promise. When you buy them from the store (they are sold as critter food in pet stores), they are captive-bred, free of disease and general “plaguiness.” You can purchase species that can’t climb so they are easily kept within bounds – no fear of a black crawling swarm scrabbling and clawing over you while you sleep. They are meticulously clean considering they eat everything including feces, fats and oils, meat and dairy, coffee grounds and anything else that has a bit of nutrients to it. And they are voracious eaters, so unlike worms and other more socially acceptable composting creatures, they finish what they eat and it doesn’t start stinking up the place. Their appetite also allows me to dispose of a ton of nasty waste that would normally be lost.
You want to see a cockroach composter in action? Check out the aquarium below.
And the compost it produces is amazingly rich and dense and full of bonuses like chicken bones, catfish skulls, crustacean shells, and whatever else of the kitchen scraps was too hard to eat. In the picture below you can see the bedding material harvested from the tank, ready for the garden – some bones are sticking out as well as egg case shells (great chitin for the garden), some beetle larva that found their way in, and other odds and ends. It’s great!
So why not try your hand at cockroach composting? Just don’t visualize them getting outta control, breaching their enclosure some night and washing over your sleeping form like some monstrous dark tide of roiling claws and teeth. Haha.
Click here for the technical details of how to do cockroach composting.