Winning photo: Feather-legged fly. Photographer: Bob Richardson, McCarthy Pest Control, St. Charles, Mo.

By Brad Harbison

Bob Richardson, staff entomologist at McCarthy Pest Control, St. Charles, Mo., was announced as the winner of this year’s PCT Best Pest Photo Contest for his photo of a feather-legged fly taken at the University of Missouri Extension Center, St. Peters, Mo.

“I really like photographing insects there because the master gardeners grow such a wide variety of flowers and plants that draw insects in,” said Richardson, an associate certified entomologist (ACE).


Richardson, who used a Nikon Full Frame D600 (with a Sigma 150 mm macro lens) to photograph the fly, said there are two outstanding features of this photo. “The colors on the male are outstanding, and I really like the way the feathers on the legs came out in the photograph.”

One of our judges also was impressed with the detail in this photo, noting that the angle at which it was taken “gives the image an opportunity to breathe. It brings an ‘artistic feel’ to the image.”

With feather-legged flies, Richardson said, the females will deposit their eggs on a stink bug (usually); the larvae will then burrow into the stink bug and feed, which will kill the stink bug.

A 48-year industry veteran, Richardson had been a finalist in the PCT photo contest four straight years. “I purchased the equipment to photograph insects a number of years ago, and I have been perfecting my style over the years. The insect world can be quite beautiful and when you combine that with flowers and other [environments] where insects can be found, the results can be stunning. I was hooked immediately,” he said.

Richardson wins $500 from PCT. In addition to the winning photo, finalist photos are showcased in the following photo review.

Finalist photo: Club-tailed dragonfly. Photographer: Angela Myer, New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board (NOMTRCB)
Finalist photo: Larvae of any Antlion from the class Neuroptera. Photographer: Stephen Doggett, Westmead Hospital’s Medical Entomology Department (Australia)
Finalist photo: Brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa). Photographer: Kevin Wiener, Swat Pest Management, Evansville, Ind.
Finalist photo: Shoot fly (Atherigona) on a fig tree. Photographer: Daniel Dye, retired training coordinator for Florida Pest Control, Gainesville, Fla.
Finalist photo: Eastern hercules beetle. Photographer: Brent Giardino, Arrow Exterminators, Canton, Ga.
Finalist photo: Central America cave cockroach. Photographer: Wade Wilson, Turner Pest Control, Jacksonville, Fla
Finalist photo: Ambush bug. Photographer: Tom Myers, All Rite Pest Control, Lexington, Ky.
Finalist photo: Anise swallowtail butterfly larva on young anise plant. Photographer: Peter Ozorio, Napa County Mosquito Abatement District
Finalist photo: A female robber fly (Promachus hinei) in South Lafayette, La. Photographer: James Beck, City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite & Rodent Control Board
Finalist photo: Praying mantis. Photographer: Corey Helsher, Innovative Pest Solutions, Raleigh, N.C.