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Footage of roach-eating competition hits YouTube after contestant’s mysterious death
Edward Archbold collapsed after winning the first annual Midnight Madness “Eat Bugs For Balls” contest.
A Florida man who ate “dozens of roaches and worms” in an attempt to win a python snake has died from complications stemming from the bugs he consumed during the unconventional contest.
Edward Archbold, 32, collapsed outside the Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, Fla., after winning the first annual Midnight Madness “Eat Bugs For Balls” contest, a bug-eating competition that pitted 30 contestants against one another in effort to win a $700 Ivory Ball python.
According to rules posted in an online forum, the snake would be awarded to ‘the guy or gal that eats the most bugs in four minutes without vomiting.” Archbold had apparently intended to sell the snake to a friend.
A number of videos detailing Archbold’s involvement in the contest have surfaced on YouTube. While each finds the long-haired 32-year-old struggling to keep his recent feed down, none show him keeling over or passing out.
Archbold’s cause of death death is not yet known—the Broward Medical Examiner’s office has yet to release any type of autopsy—but the shop owner insists it wasn’t the food. Discoid roaches, the unusual creature Archbold consumed that night, are “eaten by people all over the world,” Siegel told the Miami Herald.
“They’re clean—raised for exotic pet feed,” Siegel said. “We sell expensive animals, and these bugs are perfectly safe.”
An employee of the shop told the Herald that “customers or close friends will eat [the roaches] all the time as a dare.”
Edwin Lewis, an entomologist at the University of California at Davis, told the Herald that he believes an allergic reaction was the cause of death.
“It’s kind of gross, but if he chewed them up, they wouldn’t be doing much to him,” he said. “It wouldn’t be any different than eating shrimp.”
Photo via OldervsYounger/YouTube
Chase Hoffberger reported on YouTube, web culture, and crime for the Daily Dot until 2013, when he joined the Austin Chronicle. Until late 2018, he served as that paper’s news editor and reported on criminal justice and politics.