ORLANDO, Fla.,None — Most of us would do anything to keep cockroaches out of our homes. However, an Orlando man was arrested Wednesday night for smuggling them into the state and into his house.
Apparently, bugs are a big business, and officers said he had them illegally shipped into Orlando from California.
The roaches are about two-inches-long and they're often used as food for reptiles. But they're illegal in Florida and one Orlando man found out how serious the state is about enforcing the law.
Cockroaches are crawling insects some people love to hate and they are everywhere in Florida. But the type of roach that Derek Rader allegedly smuggled in, isn't supposed to be here.
Dubia roaches are not native to Florida and it's illegal to bring them here, which is why, the state said, when Rader had them shipped to Orlando from California, he was arrested. Radar, however, bonded out of jail.
"Are you Derek?" WFTV reporter Jeff Deal asked a man at the door.
"No," the man replied.
"We're with Channel 9," Deal said.
But the man slammed the door.
The State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Rader operates a website business from his Orlando home that sells bugs. They said he altered a state permit to show he had permission to import the banned bugs.
Neighbors said they are angry.
"Florida, is the cockroach capital of the world already, why would we need more?" said neighbor Eric Hager.
Local reptile experts said the roaches are a good food source for lizards. They have more meat and more nutrients than crickets. They're also quieter and easier to handle, and once you have some good breeding roaches, you won't have to buy more.
But Dr. Philip Nichols of Massey Services pest control said introducing non-native species where they may not have natural predators could mean a population explosion.
"Could be out of control, could be everywhere," Nichols said.
That is why the state said it's cracking down and why Rader is facing criminal charges. He faces two felony charges and a first-degree misdemeanor.
Investigators said he is not cooperating and they have no idea what happened to all the roaches he brought into Florida.
There are four types of cockroaches that researchers say could invade Florida after being imported. They are the: orange-spotted roach or dubia, Madagascar hissing roach, lobster roach, and the Turkestan roach.
Entomologists said pest control operators should be on the look-out for the roaches that could breed if released into the wild.