USDA Charter - March 21, 2008© Photos by Mark Miller © Hi-Res Source
This was yet another Charter by the USDA to Petit Bois Island. The crew consisted of Randy St. Louis (Pace, FL), Doyle Nightengale (Pensacola, FL), Stephen Hight (Tallahassee, FL), Chris Albanese (Tallahassee, FL), John Mass (Tallahassee, FL), and Jim Carpenter (Tifton, GA). 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. Having found some evidence of their existance on Petit Bois, this trip was to set out additional Traps as well as a release of Sterile Moths. Jim Carpenter grows the Cactus Moth and then Iradiates them to make them Sterile. The idea is that these iradiated Moths will mate with the wild moths and produce no offspring. The moths are kept in cold storage for up to 48 hours and then warmed and released. Initially the moths looked dead, but as they warmed up, they came to life and flew out. There were over 1,000 moths released consisting of both males and females. Total trip encompassed 36 miles and 7 hours.