NCDA&CS Structural Pest and Pesticides Division solves a huge hissing problem

by | Aug 15, 2013

Photo of cockroaches

These Madagascar hissing cockroaches have gone to college.

What do you do when you have hundreds of Madagascar hissing cockroaches you don’t want anymore? This is a problem recently faced by the NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division.

“We ordered three about five or six years ago; (the company) sent us six, thinking some would probably die in transit,” said Jim Burnette, division director. “Since then they have continued to multiply.”

The giant roaches were used in outreach and education efforts at events such as the State Fair, Bug Fest, and in speaking to school groups or garden clubs. “You know – if you have a big ol’ aquarium of large Madagascar hissing cockroaches, it’ll draw the kids in, and then the parents follow,” Burnette said.

These days the bugs aren’t needed because the division uses a giant bedbug costume at outreach events. Finding a new home for the roaches has been tough; it’s not like you can just send them to State Surplus.

Burnette tried offering them to teachers but could only get rid of a few. Then he read an article in The News and Observer of Raleigh about Alper Bozkurt, an electrical and computer engineering professor at N.C. State University, who uses Madagascar hissing cockroaches in his research. Long story short, the Structural Pest and Pesticides cockroaches have gone to college. They are assisting Bozkurt and his graduate students with their work.

We wish them all the luck in their new job.

To read more about Bozkhurt’s research, check out The News and Observer article.