Big Blue Bug – Providence, Rhode Island - Atlas Obscura

Big Blue Bug

Ironically this massive termite is the mascot for a company that is acclaimed for killing his kind. 


Providence’s take on the Statue of Liberty, the Big Blue Bug welcomes Rhode Islanders and perplexed visitors alike to the city from the roof of a pest control company that he helped bring to prominence.

The blue, 58-foot-long, fiberglass termite was built in 1980 as a marketing ploy for the company it sits on top of, New England Pest Control (now Big Blue Bug Solutions). Since then, however, it’s come to represent not just a pest extermination company, but the character of its city and state. A contest was held to name the insect with the winning idea being “Nibbles Woodaway” (clever, eh?). Nibbles was actually purple when he was first created since that is the actual color of termites under a microscope, however as the paint faded in the sun, he took on his now signature blue hue which he quickly caught on and was never changed.   

What this Big Blue Bug says about the character of Rhode Island is another story altogether, but Rhode Islanders revel in seeing the Bug dressed up for different holidays and seasons (for example, with reindeer antlers for Christmas and Del’s frozen lemonade for summer), and seeing the reactions of outsiders questioning why it is again that they came to visit Rhode Island when they first see a giant blue bug greeting them next to the highway.

Know Before You Go

To the left from I-95 north, to the right of I-95 south, right near the I-195 interchange

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