Skip to content

Live from BugFest – Back to the Track: The Roachingham 500

September 16, 2017

By Chloe Allen and Evie Davis, Teen Newsroom producers.

A snapshot of the roaches in their pens taken moments before the races begin.

A snapshot of the roaches in their pens taken moments before the races begin. Photo by Chloe Allen.

It’s a warm September morning at BugFest 2017 and the crowds are gathered to witness a riveting race between six exceptional roaches.  Four Junior Curators are standing at attention holding the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, ready to educate the public on these fascinating creatures.  Alaina, Junior Curator and cockroach handler, finds these roaches interesting. “I really find these roaches fascinating. Even though they have small brains, they contribute a lot to the environment,” she says. Madagascar hissing cockroaches have some really cool adaptations, such as being able to breathe and hiss from holes in their shell, called spiracles. Because of this, they can survive for a few days without their heads until they die from thirst!

Another handler, Robert, the cockroach enthusiast, shares with us the differences between the male and female cockroaches.  He points out that male cockroaches have horns, unlike the females. The reason for the horns being that the males fight each other if they like the same female cockroach.

A male and female cockroach. The male cockroach has horns to help defend himself.

A male and female cockroach. The male cockroach has horns to help defend himself. Photo by Chloe Allen.

While we were interviewing Robert, the male cockroach let out a low, soft hiss! Robert says this cockroach may have been nervous because of all of the people around, which may have hindered his performance in the race. Laura, another handler, enjoys the cockroaches’ personality. She says they’re calm, and they’re even good pets!

A close-up of a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

A close-up of a Madagascar hissing cockroach. Photo by Chloe Allen.

And now it’s time for the momentous race: the Roachingham 500.  The racers are in their places as the announcer draws a crowd of enthusiastic fans.  The volunteers encourage the onlookers to grab a popsicle stick with the color of the roach they believe will be victorious.

A Junior Curator handing out Popsicle sticks before the race. Photo by Chloe Allen.

A Junior Curator handing out Popsicle sticks before the race. Photo by Chloe Allen.

Once everyone has made their selections, the pens open to release the cockroaches. The race is off to a slow start, most likely due to the heat. However, within 30 seconds, Greg Roachle, the silver roach, named after NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, is off to a strong start. While the other five roaches lag behind, Roachle furiously sprints to the finish line. The crowds cheer as Greg Roachle emerges as the victor! Those who picked the silver popsicle sticks come forward to pick a prize. The Junior Curators retrieve their respective roaches to prepare them for the next race. The roaches will race every 25 minutes until five o’clock this evening.

If you want to witness this exciting event for yourself, come to BugFest 2017! The Roachingham 500 is located on Bicentennial Mall between the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences & the North Carolina Museum of History.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: