Cockroach shortage plagues insectarium

    Philadelphia’s Insectarium is woefully short on roaches.

    Some of the least welcome visitors in the summer are cockroaches. The hot weather makes the pests more active, to the disgust of many city residents. But one place in Philadelphia is looking for more cockroaches: Philadelphia’s Insectarium is woefully short on roaches.

    It’s all Edgar Allen Poe’s fault.

    Last Halloween, a theatrical troop in Philadelphia staged a Poe-themed haunted house, which included two thousand live cockroaches. They bought them from the Insectarium, an insect museum in North Philadelphia featuring a popular exhibition of a glassed-in kitchen infested with roaches.

    The Insectarium’s manager, Dave Stieger, says he miscalculated the ability of his remaining cockroaches to reproduce. Now he’s short about 2,500 critters, and he’s willing to pay a quarter apiece to anyone who can bring him one. Alive.

    Steiger claims to have fond memories of cockroaches.

    “When I was in college, I had to stomp my feet on the floor when I first got up in the morning to run the cockroaches back into their hiding places Many other people, having been to college, understand that. Or if you’ve living in Philadelphia for a while – or any big city – you understand cockroaches. It’s just part of living in a big city.”

    As disgusting as it may seem, cockroaches are an essential part of urban ecology. They mostly live in sewers, feeding on waste, making sewage treatment more efficient.

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