Museum-Quality Cockroaches

Associated Press

Cockroaches crawling under the kitchen sink, fleas giving the family dog fits, moths making nests in the sweater pile. Not your standard museum display.

But a bug’s-eye view of an ordinary household is just that: one of the creepy, crawly exhibits in the Smithsonian Institution’s renovated insect zoo.

The old exhibit was just called the insect zoo. The new one’s the O. Orkin Insect Zoo.

Otto Orkin founded Orkin Pest Control, an insect-zapping empire based in Atlanta.


With federal funding in short supply, the Smithsonian looked for outside help. The Orkin insect people donated $500,000.

“When you think about it, it really makes sense,” said Sally Love, who developed the new exhibit. “These are people who deal with insects all the time, who know them and make money off of them.”

Tarantula feedings take place three times a day at the museum, and one wall boasts dozens of glass cases full of the scariest specimens around. OK, so they’re dead--but there’s still a centipede as thick as a hot dog and at least a foot long.

No word on whether Black Flag is sold in the gift shop.