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Travelling Bug Exhibit Lands in Belleville

By Gail Paquette

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Five year old Mariah Moriarty took a close look at the praying mantis from around the world. The Incredible World of Bugs was at the Quinte Mall, Belleville May 17-19. Collector, John Power's travelling exhibit is sponsored by Orkin Pest Control. He does 20 shows a year across Canada. Photo by Gail Paquette

The beautiful, the strange, the rare and the deadly world of bugs were at the Quinte Mall from May 17 to the 19.

The public got a chance to view over 300 creatures.

The Incredible World of Bugs, a traveling exhibit showed specimens from every corner of the world including walking sticks from Malaysia, bird-eating spiders from the Amazon, Goliath Beetles from Africa and a Guinness record holding moth.

The man behind the display cases is sixty-two-year-old John Powers, who referred to this collection as a lifetime of work. He began collecting at age nine with a butterfly net, a gift from his father. He now has over 20,000 butterflies and 5,000 bugs.

In 1973, Powers helped a friend with a delivery to Orkin, Canada’s largest pest control company. Upon learning of Powers collection, Orkin wanted to know why he was not showing it. Powers replied, “I need a sponsor.”

Orkin jumped on board, financing 20 exhibits across Canada every year.

It may seem odd for an exterminator and a bug lover to collaborate.

“We have to remember, there are good bugs and bad bugs,“ said Powers. “The second termites start eating through supports, they are no longer cute or interesting, they are pests and that’s where people like Orkin come in.“

The goal of the exhibit states Orkin is to raise awareness of the vital role of these creatures and rally support from government, educators, researchers and the general public to ensure stability of the butterfly and insect eco-systems from around the world.

“I am having fun,” said Powers. “I can go anywhere I want from Halifax to BC. There are things here you can’t see in any museum.  I hold a Guinness world record for the largest moth in the world. It should be in the Smithsonian Museum.”

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