Move over milk and lunch monitors - a cockroach infestation at an Auckland school has forced it to introduce roach monitors.

Other pupils may flee screaming at the sight of large native cockroaches, but three nature-loving youngsters have volunteered to scoop up the wildlife that venture into Pt Chevalier School.

Principal Sandra Aitken said a junior room opening on to the school's playground had become a second home to the insect.

"Rather than have the squeals and everyone getting in a panic, the teacher found a couple of kids who didn't mind cockroaches. They pick them up and put them outside in the right environment," Aitken said.


Techniques varied. "Some use their bare hands, which I couldn't, and others use a bit of paper. The kids won't scream but calmly pick them up and put them outside."

Aitken said the monitor jobs were so popular there was competition among the children for them.

When the bugs first appeared in the classroom the school contacted an exterminator who told them as they were native they could not be killed. But Bug King owner Mark McDonald said the cockroaches were not a protected species.

He said the native cockroaches were harmless, didn't breed inside and were not attracted to food, instead preferring their natural outdoor habitat.