Invasive insects are a major problem in New Jersey, that’s why the Department of Agriculture is partnering with a unique Ocean County Business to help educate people.

The Insectropolis Bug Museum in Toms River is now host to a new exhibit courtesy of a cooperative agreement from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the USDA.

It may seem like a peculiar place but museum founder Chris Koerner has worked for nearly a decade now. Insectropolis has been providing an educational experience for it’s customers, boasting as many as twenty five thousand visitors a year.

The decision to work with Insectropolis on the museum made perfect sense for the Department of Agriculture. Invasive insects deal millions in damage to the state every year, however education can help save millions of dollars. The museum already had not only the history with insects but also the large visitor base eager to learn.

“That gave us an opportunity to work together, plus we could put some money towards the project at well. So we helped each other that way financially.” Says Koerner.

The ten thousand dollar cooperative agreement was matched by the museum to create  the  interactive touch screen exhibit in the Rock State Prison room. The activity station explains the different ways the pests do damage to various plants and trees, as well as how to identify them.

“I think that it just lets adults know what they are supposed to be doing if they do come across them. It tell them who do you call, it also tells them that this is happening because most adults don’t even know invasive exist.” Koerner adds.

State Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher is especially happy about the move also, especially since it allows them to educate people through a method that doesn’t require them “reinventing the wheel.”

“So rather than reinvent something for one particular kiosk, we were able to incorporate it into a local business.”  Says Fisher. Though this is a particularly niche situation, he adds he always is looking to work with businesses whenever possible.