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Arapahoe Resident Protects Mosquitoes
Calls for fellow Pamlico County citizens to assist in "catch and release" program
September 26, 2002
While the county has been deploying crop dusters to kill mosquitoes, one man has formed a group to protect the insects.
Ross Pease is the founder and leader of PIRAC – the Pamlico Insect Rights Action Committee. Normally seen quietly serving customers at the Provision Company in Oriental, the mild-mannered Pease almost raises his voice when he talks about how mosquitoes are misunderstood. “They have feelings, too” he says, “and I am horrified — just horrified — by the counties efforts to kill these small beings. I don’t understand our County Health Director’s actions – what about the health of the mosquitoes?”
Pease isn’t just talking – he has begun a catch and release program. TownDock.net found him early Monday collecting mosquitoes before the county’s planes could take to the air. Wearing a rugged outdoors hat and goggles, Pease backed up his pick up truck to the edge of an infested salt marsh – and then directed the insects into his truck with a high powered fan.
After filling his covered pickup with what Pease estimates at “upwards of 300,000 of my little friends”, he then will transport the insects to Key West, Florida. In early September PIRAC funded an investigative trip for Ross Pease to Key West, where he says he found ideal conditions – “there are no mosquitoes down there now, but there is lots of bare skin. I think these Pamlico County mosquitoes will be very happy in their new home.”
Ross Pease directs mosquitoes into his truck – assisted by a turbo fan
At first, we didn’t see how the mosquito’s could survive the long trip in the back of the truck, but Pease says he has that figured out. “I put three inches of black mud and marsh grass in the pickup bed. When they get hungry I just put my bare arm back there for about ten minutes. It’s the least I can do.” He estimates he will stop seventeen times on the trip south for a “feeding.”
Pease feeds the mosquitoes by offering his bare arm
That’s where Pease is looking for help, and some new PIRAC members. “You get to go to Key West” points out the PIRAC founder, “but I really need to split duty with another kind volunteer for the feedings. All you have to do is put your bare arm back there every other time. It’s very rewarding. “ Pease says prospective volunteers must sign an affidavit saying they have not used OFF or Cutter in the last 30 days.
Emblazoned with the PIRAC logo, the marsh yacht goes out to better understand mosquito society
The Pamlico Insect Rights Action Committee isn’t just running the catch and release program.
In addition Pease has started what he calls “Mosquito Outreach,” carried out in PIRAC’s new marsh yacht. Pease says “I can become part of the mosquito culture by spending more time in their habitat.”
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