Bug eats bug in the microscopic world of Dan Papacek, who marshals his insect army for pest control in the citrus-fruit industry.

Story & photos by James McEwan

If ever there was a case of having the right bloke in the right place it would be entomologist Dan Papacek and his Bugs for Bugs operation at Mundubbera, the centre of Queensland’s citrus-fruit industry. Locals reckon the bearded boffin scientist is a national treasure for his work on controlling the insect pests that have perennially threatened orchards in Queensland and across Australia.
Dan and his wife Anne took over an old butter factory in 1981 and transformed it into an insect-breeding plant. The insect operation is instantly recognisable as it has giant ladybirds painted on its outside walls. With a staff of 15, the Papaceks have created an extensive network of insect-breeding laboratories, where both beneficial and pest insects are researched.

This story excerpt is from Issue #50

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2007