Insectarium Destroyed During Eviction Process

by Alex Lloyd Gross

May 30, 2023

The Insectarium is gone. The bug museum located on Frankford Avenue had been through numerous court battles and today was the day for eviction. At 9:00 AM the sheriff came to serve the notice and Steve Rubin, the owner of building  was outside and heard glass breaking. As soon as the Sheriff showed up the glass stopped and the people, who were breaking things high tailed it away. Inside the place was destroyed.

When you move out of a business it is customary to leave it broom swept.  Fixtures and windows were broken, doors smashed open,  even the toilets were smashed. A sledge hammer was spotted by the front door. According to Rubin and lawyer Gary Lightman,  some of the items broken did not belong to the owner, they become fixtures, and are a part of the building.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo- Delaware Valley The damage done to the reptile room
Alex Lloyd Gross Photo -Delaware Valley Steve Kanya stands in front of what was the Insectarium.

All of the insects and animals have been removed. Their condition and whereabouts is unknown.  This entire story started when Steve Kanya started an extermination business in 1974.  In 1992 he opened the bug museum to teach people about insects and what they are all about. He spendt hundreds of thousands of dollars to build up his museum. Then in 2016 a PHD student  named John Cambridge showed up and offered to help. Kanya accepted his offer and the two worked side by side.  The debacle started about a year later when Cambridge expressed and interest in having an ownership in the museum, according to Kanya.



With no money changing hands, just promissory notes on paper, according to Kanya,  he agreed. Before he knew it, no rent was being paid and Kanya found hm self locked out of the building, with no money ever exchanging hands. John Cambridge , had filed “lawsuit after lawsuit, motion after motion to keep himself inside.  They were all delay tactics,” Kanya said. Both Kanya and Rubin and their lawyer insist that they reached out to Cambridge about payment arrangements  multiple  times but were rebuffed.



In the meanwhile, Steve Rubin had not been paid. The day of the eviction came and Rubin and Kanya were shocked and frankly pissed off. They blame Cambridge and will be looking for remuneration.  When they showed up, almost everything of value was smashed or vandalized.  Police were called and are investigating .



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9 thoughts on “Insectarium Destroyed During Eviction Process

  1. As a recent employee, I promise you John is the ONLY person responsible for the damage. Everyone else had respect for the building and would’ve left it in clean shape. John went on a meth rampage last night

    1. Oh, I know that’s right. That man is absolutely bonkers and was awful to many employees. I’m sorry you had to work for him.

      I hope the animals are ok and not harmed by his unhinged greed.

  2. Also a recent employee, this was absolutely John Cambridge who did this. The graffiti on the wall in the video says it all because “IBP” stands for Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion. I hope the animals were safely removed, this is simply disturbing.

  3. This is so sad I have been going to that museum since I was a kid and I started taking my kids there. This is such a sad story and I hope John Cambridge pays for what he did.

  4. I worked here from 1992 until 1999. This is heartbreaking to see today. It was such a fun place to work and teach. We had so many great families and students coming in for tours and birthday parties. This makes my heart hurt seeing this.

  5. I’ve been going for years then took my kids. This is so sad hope all the animals are Insects safe.

  6. I felt honored to work here, it was a dream job.

    The animals are safe, though we could not save them all. I believe that John tried his best, but could not find a home for the walking sticks, and they had to be iced.

    We are all grieving the loss of the Insectarium. I’ll be saving blame for when a clear story comes out. I don’t exactly trust Gary Lightman since he’s a lawyer. Kanya had been stealing from the business and from employees.

  7. I took my brownie troop and my own children here many times in the late 80s early 90s. I’ve been taking my grandchildren here also. The butterfly pavilion was sweet. It was peaceful. Suddenly it became a dark and dirty place. This is so sad it was a cool place to go for the people of Northeast Philadelphia. I’m so so sad it will be gone. I sure hope the animals will be ok. My favorite things were the working bee hive, the roach kitchen behind plexiglass and just seeing a real scorpion was amazing. Very fond memories of that place!

  8. This is so heat breaking! If everything were destroyed and the location of animals are unknown how are they offering traveling shows.

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