Creator of RI's beloved Big Blue Bug landmark dies at 88

FILE - In this April 9, 2012, file photo, a workman maneuvers near a giant blue termite perched atop the headquarters of a company then known as New England Pest Control, now known as Big Blue Bug Solutions, in Providence, R.I. George Cardono, who created the iconic bug in 1979 and who started advertising agencies in Providence and New York, died Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. He was 88. (AP Photo/David Klepper, File) (David Klepper, Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The creator of the Rhode Island landmark, the Big Blue Bug, which advertises a local pest control business on Interstate 95 in Providence, has died.

According to his obituary, George Cardono died Tuesday at the age of 88, the Providence Journal reported.

The idea for the beloved termite came from Big Blue Bug founder Leonard Goldman, his son Stephan and “their outside advertising man” Cardono according to a 2012 Providence Journal column by Mark Patinkin.

Cardono, an artist with a Rhode Island School of Design background, studied termites under a microscope to create the advertisement. He worked with a sign company to construct the segments, according to Patinkin.

The 58-foot-long, 4,000 pound (17 meter-long, 1,815 kilogram) Rhode Island icon cost $30,000, the newspaper reported.

Cardono is described in his obituary as “a true renaissance man” born on a farm in Riverside, Rhode Island who started advertising agencies in Providence and New York and had a long career in different fields.

The Big Blue Bug, also known as Nibbles Woodaway, has been featured on television and in the movies “Dumb and Dumber” and “Dumb and Dumber To.” In April, the bug donned a face mask to pay tribute to health care workers and others on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.