Tom Myers, owner of All-Rite Pest Control, Lexington, Ky., won with a close-up photo of a mosquito feeding on his arm.

PCT announced in January that Tom Myers, owner of All-Rite Pest Control, Lexington, Ky., was the winner of our 16th annual Best Pest Photo Contest. Myers won $500 from PCT for his winning photo of a mosquito feeding on his arm.

The photo was taken in a central Belize rainforest, where Myers was exploring in pursuit of beetle photos.

Myers said one of the concerns with mosquitoes in Belize are botflies (Dermatobia hominis), which can lay eggs on mosquitoes. “So, when a mosquito feeds on you, the egg hatches and the larvae bores down into your skin,” Myers explained. According to the University of Florida Department of Entomology’s website, “D. hominis will infest the skin of mammals and live out the larval stage in the subcutaneous layer, causing painful pustules that secrete fluids. The infestation of any fly larvae inside the body is known as myiasis.” [If you are curious what this looks like, Google “botflies in human skin.” Warning, the images are pretty gross!]

One of the great qualities of this photo is that the mosquito’s head is in sharp focus, while it’s body is slightly blurred. “When you are doing high-magnification photography (aka, macro-photography), you have a shallow depth of field, so you focus on that one point, and the rest of it goes out of focus,” Myers said. “So, I didn’t put any effects on the photo; it was really the mechanics of the lens.”

Myers is well-known in the pest control industry for his photography. His photos have been featured on the covers and within the pages of countless entomological and pest management books (e.g., PCT Guide to Commercial Pest Management and Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations) and publications (e.g., PCT, American Entomologist). NPMA, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and other organizations use his images extensively for educational purposes.

In addition to Myers’ winning photo, the finalist photos from this year’s contest are included in the following photo review.

Finalist: Mark Vanderwerp, Rose Pest Solutions, Troy, Mich., captured this ambush bug (Phymata sp.) photo.
Finalist: Cheryl Crittenden of Pest Management of Texas, Inc., took this dragonfly photo.
©Cheryl Crittenden
Finalist: Jason Gaspard, owner of Texpest, Missouri City, Texas, snapped this photo of a spotted orb weaver spider.
Finalist: This green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) was photographed by Dr Sajad Hussain Mir, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, India.
Finalist: Dennis Judy stumbled upon this orb weaver spider that was building a web in his Snellville, Ga., yard between the corner of the house and the hedges.
Finalist: Ladybug on a blade of grass. Taken by Albert Goodrich, Ellsworth, Maine.
Finalist: Katydid nypmh photo in Fairfax, Va., taken by Bennett Jordan of Copesan Services.
Finalist: Courtney Powell of Gregory Pest Solutions, Greenville, S.C., snapped this brown recluse spider photo.
Finalist: A red paper wasp captured on camera by Bob Richardson, McCarthy Pest Control, St. Charles, Mo.
Finalist: Jimmy Uptain of Jimmy The Bug Man, Birmingham, Ala., took this photo of “sugar ants.”