Well, I never imagined that I would be faced with the challenge of photographing a cockroach, for this blog. My first encounter with them was a commission for a Pest Control business. I’d made an enormous Weta out of willow bark for an exhibition, could I make a cockroach?

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I was pleased with the finished product, it was about 60cm long plus antennae, & apparently frightened quite a few people passing the display. This of course was sedentary, whereas the specimen I needed to photograph  was decidedly mobile. I thought the safest way was to put it on an upturned cup, in a sink full of water. They are very bright creatures, it checked out all sides of the cup, reaching down to see how deep the water was, then it finally leapt across the side, making for dry land. I diverted it back with a chop stick, & we hurriedly took a couple more pics.

The Gisborne Cockroach, is larger than the German one, ( which incidentally has wings) it has distinctive pale markings along its sides, & is glossy. They are less of a pest too, preferring to stay mostly outside, under cover, where it’s draught-free. Apparently draughts dry them out,although they have a greasy covering which protects them from still, dry conditions. They are often brought into the house with firewood, but don’t eat food scraps.We find them tucked into pots & rolls of shadecloth in the greenhouse.

Watching the one that we caught, I was aware that they are unnerving creatures, they move very fast, & can disappear through the smallest cracks. Worst of all they seem quite capable of outwitting us, a bit like wasps do, that plus the thought that they may be one of the few species to survive a nuclear war, is a bit intimidating.

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