Surrounded by 1,000 bugs in Culpeper: Stuck in pandemic, photographer documents insect life on Lake Pelham | State and Regional News

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Culpeper Star-Index by EMILY JENNINGS

Culpeper — What if you find a bug?

While many scream and flee, Culpeper’s inhabitant Lee Arroway not only stops to investigate small creatures, but also looks for eerie crawling.

Over the past two years, a 74-year-old woman has found and photographed more than 1,000 species of insects in Culpeper County. She also photographed several insect species in Orange County and Fairfax County.

“Usually I would have traveled around the world to take pictures of birds and insects,” Arrowei said. “But I couldn’t travel during the pandemic, so I started looking for insects around my house.”

At first, he said he was surprised to find 250 species. He was about to stop counting when his friend challenged him to find 500.

“By the end of September 2021, I had reached about 1,000,” he said.

The property of Alloway’s house is on Lake Peram, a mecca for insect photography subjects.

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“There is a lake behind us, a forest on the right, a field in front, a fruit tree and a garden,” he said. “Each area has different types of bugs that you can find all year round.”

Alloway uses a collection of about 100 field guides to identify each bug after taking a picture and ask for additional help online.

“The entomologist community is very helpful,” he said. “They will give their opinion — and I will try to narrow it down to two different sources that agree.”

Alloway has self-published three new books on the findings of his Culpeper area. “Wazz at Lep?”, 375 species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). And “Wazz at Bug?” Contains all the 975 species he was sure to identify. Books found on Amazon can also be purchased at the Orange Spelled Ink Bookstore.

He said more than 1,000,000 arthropods are classified worldwide and more arthropods are discovered each year. However, disproportionate numbers of species are found only in the tropics, and many more are limited in scope.

“Finding 1,000 species locally in a season without a comprehensive collection plan is a good indication of our biodiversity,” says Alloway.

Aloway and his wife, Janice Horn, have lived in Culpeper for about four years since moving here to get closer to the children and grandchildren who live in Madison County. After 26 years of Air Force career, Alloway worked for the Department of Defense for 14 years and retired in 2014.

“I always loved taking pictures,” he said. At the Falls Church house where his wife was raising orchids, he naturally took pictures of flowers, which led to taking pictures of flower bugs.

“My wife has a degree in agriculture and she helped me introduce macro photography,” Alloway said about taking close-ups of very small things. “I started taking jungle photos in Belize and spent two weeks in Amazon. I was in Mozambique two years ago.”

He said he enjoyed finding bugs in his backyard. Many of them can be “processed” within 30 minutes, he said.

He said buying second-hand photographic equipment can save a lot of money.

Alloway’s bug photo was published in National Wildlife Magazine and was selected for several years at the Entomological Society of America’s Insect Salon.

In addition to Culpeper’s book of bugs, Alloway includes not only pictures of bugs and birds, but also a book of poetry, an overview of his career in the Air Force, and his views on our position in humanity and the world. We have published about 10 more books. ..

Alloway plans to keep track of Culpeper’s bugs to keep an eye on population changes, and he hopes to find more species.

“Taking these pictures is something I find very interesting,” he said. “Most people don’t look for bugs. I find bugs everywhere.”

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