USDA Charter to Petit Bois - January 30, 2008© Photos by Mark Miller © Hi-Res Source
This was a Charter by the USDA to Petit Bois Island. The crew consisted of Maurice Duffle (Pensacola, FL), Randy St. Louis (Pace, FL), Doyle Nightengale (Pensacola, FL), Stephen Hight (Tallahassee, FL), Chris Albanese (Tallahassee, FL), and John Mass (Tallahassee, FL). The USDA has been working on a project to iradicate a Moth that has been working its way around the Florida Gulf Coast toward Mexico. The Moth Larvae eat Cactus and threaten the Cactus Farming Industry. Tons of Cactus have been removed from the Florida Panhandle and Dauphin Island in efforts to thrawrt their migration. For many months now, Traps have been set on both Petit Bois and Horn Islands in efforts to see if the Moths have made it this far. Not finding any in the traps, this trip was to visually inspect the Cactus on Petit Bois and verify their non-existance. Initially, nothing was found, but unfortunately the search eventually revealed their presence as shown in the photos below. One of the photos shows their egg sack which looks similar to a spine coming off of the cactus. The weather was very cold and rough in the morning with winds of 25-30 knots, but it died down to less than 10 knots in the afternoon. Total trip encompassed 38 miles and 9 hours.