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Highlights include a microscope connected to a flat screen television that allows viewers to see greatly magnified images of crawling ladybugs.

Another screen shows digital images of a selection of creepy crawlies under the banner, "Who's Making This Sound?" Visitors learn which hiss, whir or chirp goes with whom.

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work for a chemical company that asked him to grow pests so the company could research ways to kill them.

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But for most of Insect Lore's existence, it wasn't in a position to accommodate visitors.

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And a taxidermy case displays mounted bugs and insects from around the world, including a green, 7 inch walking leaf from Thailand; a shiny gold Egyptian scarab beetle that looks like a piece of jewelry; and an enormous cockroach from Madagascar.

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Insect Lore is in a remote, rural area, but you can't miss the place.

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About 60 percent of the company's customers are individuals, including couples releasing butterflies at weddings. The rest are educators.

Pointing to a Morpho butterfly from Peru, marketing coordinator Vanessa Toews said, "This one's my favorite."

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and a praying mantis, some of them two stories tall. They seem to dance across golden earth through a rainforest of greenery.

Entomologist Carlos White founded Insect Lore in 1969. He had moved to the San Joaquin Valley from his native Illinois to Burberry Bags In Uk

The elder White developed a secret recipe for caterpillar food that would sustain them long enough to survive shipping and growing into adulthood in homes and Burberry Handbag On Ebay

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"It broke his heart," said his son, John White, who now runs the company.

Today, Insect Lore is an international company with operations in Cornwall, England and Hong Kong. It sells kits for growing butterflies, ladybugs and praying mantises, as well as ant farms and science related books, toys and DVDs available through national retailers, a mail order catalog and online.

The Bugseum is just Prada Crossbody Nylon Bag a small part of a 50,000 square foot facility that includes labs where bugs are grown. Some of those behind the scenes operations are open for school tours, but certain areas are off limits, to protect the little guys from infection.

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There are still sales of butterfly gardens and the like in wintertime. The kit includes a certificate that buyers can redeem later for the live insect.

"I told them I wanted it to look like Disneyland," White said as gardeners put the final touches on the grounds.

Outside, lush landscaping of flowers and ornamental plants flank the sidewalk.


A giant ant farm takes up almost half a wall.

"We kept having to turn away scout troops and field trips because we weren't really set up for it," said president John White. "When you walked in the front door, you were in the shipping area. The first thing you saw was a conveyor belt."

White hired a custom painter to cover the front of the building with four ants, a butterfly Burberry Bags For Ladies

Its silvery blue metallic sheen is actually created by light reflecting from scales of various angles and dimensions, Toews explained.

Insect Lore opening 'Bugseum' to public

That's all changed now. On Monday, Insect Lore will open the doors to its new 2,500 square foot "Bugseum," a gift shop with educational exhibits featuring live butterflies, toads, ladybugs, scorpions and tarantulas.

Butterflies and ladybugs are grown in Shafter. Insect Lore acquires ants and praying mantises from outside vendors.

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"If you took it out of the light, it would be brown," she said.

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