Friday, May 25, 2007

No progress

We are still working on putting the basement back together after our water problems, so there has been no more progress made on the insectary. The things that need doing are -

Install floor - We bought vinyl flooring to lay down in that room. It will make it easy to clean and disinfect. I need to make sure I keep things as clean as possbile in there, because mold or a virus outbreak can wipe yout your colony.

Paint the walls - Just because the walls need it, not for any functional reason. Also because it will look nice.

Install countertop - This will be nice when I'm cleaning out cages or feeding the bugs.

Make emergance chamber - As noted here, I need an emergence chanber for A. pernyi if I get them shipped in. While I don't think it will be hard to make, it still takes time to make it, and I need help to assemble it (since I've never put together a plexiglass box before).

Get leaves - At this point my mulberry tree still doesn't have leaves. It does have some buds, which is a good sign. I'm thinking I'll have a late summer B. mori brood by the time I have leaves and get this insectary finished!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The bug room is mostly complete! Last Saturday I stayed upstairs watching my two daughters while my husband's squire, Farthegn did most of the work. Nickolas offered his help, but Farthegn insisted from the beginning that it was basically a one-man project. I'm not sure if this is because he's very adept at this sort of building, or because he brought over all kinds of tools that made the job easier. Here is just a small assortment of the man-toys that he brought over.

After some careful measuring and planning (that's Farthegn) -

a ceiling anchor was put up so that the wall would be secure when the door was opened and closed. Apparently this was more of a pain then it should have been, because the construction of the drop ceiling was odd and there were no studs where there should have been some. Farthegn was finally able to figure out where to nail the anchor.

After installing the ceiling anchor for the walls, a floor anchor was also installed. This wasn't as easy as just nailing into studs because our basement floor is concrete. So Farthegn brought over these blasting cap-type things that use a small ammunition round to drive a nail deep into the concrete. A You Tube movie will be coming shortly.

Here is the first wall going up and being leveled...
and both walls and the door in place..

then drywall and shimming the door...

and then the door in place.

I decided that I wanted the door to swing inwards from the left side, because there is a window on the right wall of the room and I wanted to make it so I could leave the door open and have light coming through the open door into the basement.

Here is what it looks like, finished with molding, from the outside of the room. And I think it looks fantastic! Thanks Farthegn! Next up - putting in the floor.

The room is not very big, but I wanted to keep it small to make it easier to maintain a constant temperature. Because I always plan to feed my bugs actual leaves and not artificial diet, I'll only be using the room for insect rearing in the late spring/early summer months when there are leaves on the the trees. I'm guessing the temperature down there is going to stay right around 60 degrees, so I won't have to heat it all that much. Ideally I'd like to have it between 75 and 80 degrees. Bugs like this best.

Speaking of leaves, my mulberry tree has no leaves on it right now - only buds. My oak tree just leafed out about a week ago, and with the bug room not ready I have not ordered any insects. So I might have a small colony of B. mori (domesticated silkmoth) later this year, and the A. pernyi (Chinese oak silkmoth) might just have to wait until 2008. B. mori you can usually order any time of year from scientific supply companies, as they are a nice insect for kids to watch and raise in classrooms. They ship as eggs (because B. mori overwinter aka "hibernate" as eggs) usually with instructions on how to incubate them so they hatch within a certain time period. Since these are usually from ongoing colonies the shippers can easily send eggs of a certain age and have a pretty good idea when they'll hatch.

A. pernyi is a different story. My biggest fear with the A. pernyi is that they are being shipped from London, and they ship as pupae because they overwinter as pupae. I'll have no idea what kind of conditions they have been exposed to when they arrive, so I won't know exactly when the moths will emerge. This means that I'll have to have a tree with leaves ready just in case they emerge much sooner than expected. However, I'm hoping the shipper doesn't send them too late and I wind up with emerged moths in my package. That would be no good.

I'm excited about getting going with my bugs again. They are so much fun!

Labels: , ,