Big Blue Bug
The Big Blue Bug, also known as Nibbles Woodaway, is the giant termite mascot of Big Blue Bug Solutions located along I-95 in Providence, Rhode Island. It is claimed to be the world's largest artificial bug at 928 times the size of an actual termite, standing 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and 58 feet (17 m) long and weighing 4,000 pounds (1800 kg). It was constructed over a four-day period from wire mesh and fiberglass in late 1980 at a cost of $20,000.
The Big Blue Bug was built by Avenia Sign Company of North Providence. Anthony Pescarino, Tom Grenga, and Ronald Levesque assembled the sign over the course of a couple of months. Pescarino said, "We had to put the wings together and brought them to Valley Street to have them coated in fiberglass." It was fiberglassed by Robert Garafano, Sr. of Olneyville; it was assembled on site and then raised to the roof. The Bug was originally painted purple, the color of an actual swarming termite when observed under a microscope, but the paint soon faded to a pale blue and the landmark became so well known in that condition that it was never repainted to its original color. It was originally known only as the "Big Blue Bug," a name coined by Providence traffic reporter Mike Sheridan, until it received the name Nibbles Woodaway in a contest in 1990. Geraldine Perry of Tiverton submitted the winning name.
The bug has made numerous media appearances, including the films Dumb and Dumber and Dumb and Dumber To, the television programs The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show, and Family Guy, the comic strips Zippy the Pinhead and Bosquet, and the books Providence by Geoffrey Wolff, Roadside America by Mike Wilkins, Ken Smith, and Doug Kirby, and Weird New England by Joseph Citro. It was featured on a state scratch-off lottery ticket in 1997.
The Bug is annually "dressed" for Independence Day, Halloween, the season opener of the Pawtucket Red Sox baseball team, and Christmas (in lights, reindeer antlers, and a blinking red nose). Since 1990, the company has sold stuffed toys in the Bug's likeness.
The Bug left its home on June 20, 2002 for a five-stop tour. It was refurbished and painted a brighter blue before being returned to the roof of New England Pest Control. On April 9, 2012, New England Pest Control announced that they would be changing the company's name to "Big Blue Bug Solutions". The bug wore a necktie for the occasion.
In April 2020, in support of the "front line workers" facing COVID-19, the Big Blue Bug has put on a surgical mask.
|Species||Subterranean Termite |
|Body Length||32 feet|
||40 feet (folded over in pairs)|
|Stands||30 feet above ground|
- Patinkin, Mark (18 March 2014). "In Rhode Island we set Guinness-worthy records every day". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on 23 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- Forliti, Amy (May 27, 2001). "For 2-ton, blue termite, near-cult status in R.I." South Coast Today. Associated Press.
- Klepper, David (April 9, 2012). "Providence's iconic big blue bug gets a makeover". Boston.com. Associated Press.
- Milkovits, Amanda; Fitzpatrick, Edward. "Rhode Islanders show we are all in this together — even the Big Blue Bug". The Boston Globe. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
- Big Blue Bug Solutions home page
- RoadsideAmerica.com Report on the Blue Bug
- Quahog.org description of Nibbles