Cricket farm wiped out by fast moving virus

LEESBURG, Fla. (AP) - A large commercial insect farm that provided millions of crickets to Florida theme parks, zoos and reptile owners has been silenced by a quick-spreading virus.

The Lucky Lure Cricket Farm in central Florida has been forced to file for bankruptcy after a virus contaminated the facility and wiped out the cricket colonies earlier this year.

The densovirus is also believed to have destroyed similar farms in Europe, and has caused a nationwide shortage of crickets, a staple food for pet lizards and other reptiles.

Beth Payne, the farm's owner, says she has invested thousands of dollars to sterilize the facility. She has tried restarting the operation four times without success.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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