Manhattan Bug lovers can now visit a collection of household pests and more exotic creatures at Kansas State University's new insect zoo.
The collection of more than 1,000 living insects is cared for by a full-time keeper and housed at the school's Horticulture Gardens.
The zoo, which was dedicated Friday, includes a replica of a home kitchen. Visitors are encouraged to peer through Plexiglas panels that enclose cockroach-filled cabinet drawers and flies on the drain board.
"We want to deliver valuable and environmentally sensitive information to the public, and tell them, 'Don't just call the exterminator and start spraying,'" said department of entomology chairman Sonny Ramaswamy. "There are ways to use simple cleanliness techniques to take care of these things."
Cockroaches also flourish at the new zoo, including several exotic species that are featured in a walk-through display simulating an underground environment of a tropical rain forest.
The new zoo consolidates a succession of live insect exhibits that have been scattered about the campus since the school first opened in 1863, Ramaswamy said.
"We've always had bugs at K-State," Ramaswamy said. "But what we have here in this new museum is truly one of a kind in the U.S., based on the way the displays are set up, the way the traffic flows through the space, and, of course, the simulated kitchen exhibit."