Eight-Year-Old Eases LeAnne Taylor's Fear Of Cockroaches

Thursday, February 19th 2015, 7:59 am
By: LeAnne Taylor

We all have our likes and dislikes, things that make us happy or freak us out. I recently mentioned my disgust for the hissing cockroach and that didn't sit well with one of our viewers, 8-year-old Shelby Counterman. 

It may look like your typical little girl's bedroom but look closer. She has roaches in her room, hissing cockroaches. They are Shelby's pets. 

"This is where my Madagascar ones are from and my India ones are from right here," said Shelby Counterman. 

Shelby is a 2nd grader who is obsessed with bugs and she was very upset when she recently heard how much I dislike the hissing cockroach. 

"Shelby heard you mentioned that you hated hissing cockroaches and her eyes got big and she said Mom, how could anyone hate hissing cockroaches? She said send a picture to her. So she did and she wanted to show you that there's nothing to be afraid of," said Meg Counterman, Shelby's mom. 

Shelby's obsession started about 5 years ago when she got her first bug. 

"Whenever I was 3, Mr. Gibbs gave me some but they were only boys. So I went to Safari Joe's and told them about my problem that I didn't have babies. So they gave me some more boys and girls and then I started to breed," said Shelby Counterman. 

And now she has hundreds, no, make that thousands of cockroaches! She's shared her passion for bugs with her family, her friends and at Vacation Bible School. Her mom says it's a little creepy but she's gotten used to living with the critters. 

"A very wise friend told me a long time ago, that you can't instill your own fears and prejudices into your children. and you have to let them follow what they're interested in. This is something, when she was 18 months old when she started being attracted to bugs. I couldn't say no. It's hard not to let her follow her interests," said Meg Counterman.

Shelby keeps some of the cockroaches in special plastic tubs where they can't get out and some are in these aquariums with a Vaseline barrier to keep them in. And if they should escape, they wouldn't survive long. "Toothless," the Bearded Dragon keeps a watchful eye. 

So thank you Miss Shelby for introducing me to the wonderful world of these creepy crawlies!