Bug Photographer Goes to Court to Fight His Own Pests

Alexander Wild is a bug photographer, selling his images of fire ants, bed bugs and other critters to pest control companies, board game developers and publications ranging from Nature to National Geographic.

However, Wild also must deal with his own pests: Companies, government agencies and others that use his photos in their own advertising without permission and without paying a fee.


Wild, an entomologist, owns the copyright to his images. Each picture costs him an average of $50 to make when he figures in travel expenses and equipment. So, it annoys him when he sees people assume his photos are free for the taking since they’re on the internet.


Wild sued Cypress Creek Pest Control of Houston for alleged copyright infringement earlier this month in federal court in Houston, alleging the company used one of his photos of rover ants, the 2 mm bugs that swept through Texas about a decade ago from Argentina and are keeping pest control companies busy. He is seeking damages up to $150,000, according to the complaint.


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