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Insects Entered in Contest

July 2, 1986

DALLAS (AP) _ A Smithsonian Institution insect zoo official wants to see if Texas’ reputation for producing bigger and better breeds is true.

Sally Love, a curator in Washington, D.C., has requested first shot at the burly champion of a Texas roach contest for an entomological exhibit.

The winner of the ″Largest Cockroach″ contest, which carries a $1,000 grand prize, will have to measure up to more than 200 of its kin, said sponsor Michael Bohdan of The Pest Shop-Bizzy Bees Pest Control Co. in Dallas.

Monday was the last day to enter and people brought the creatures in popcorn tubs, peanut butter jars and beer mugs, Bohdan said Tuesday.

Judging will be held July 11, he said.

″What’s come out of the woodwork is people have written poems about this contest,″ Bohdan said. He quoted a few lines from one of the roach odes: ″In size or in significance, they hatch out by the score, why them hearty little critters, they’ve outlived the dinosaur.″

Ms. Love said the zoo already has about four species of cockroaches. She said one specimen now on display grows to more than 4 inches long.

The insect zoo attracts about 4,000 people daily and exhibits 60 different kinds of insects, she said. The Texas contribution will get special billing with a label explaining its history, she said.

A strong contender was ″Homer″ who was nabbed in a Texas Woman’s University kitchenette. Homer measured in at about three inches.

″I don’t know how he’ll rate against the other monsters,″ said captor Chris Graham. ″We’ve been fattening him with crackers and sugar water.″

Cindy Bigham, 33, who captured ″Buster″ at the Southern Baptist Convention Annuity Board meeting downtown, said she made the catch with an envelope.

″When I saw it, I said, ’There’s a thousand dollars crawling on the floor,‴ she said.