Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Finally an update

With some help from my hubby, the bug room is almost finished. We painted everything and put the floor in. Now all we need to do is seal up the edges, mop the floor, and move bugs in.

Here are some pics of the room. It's small so I can't take photos inside the room, and if I stand outside you don't get to see much. But you can get the idea. I'm going to set up a table or two for right now, but eventually the plan is to install a counter top for work space and some shelving. I'll get the light on a timer, set up a small oil filled heater, and I'll be in business!

Also, here is the emergence chamber that our buddy Farthegn built for me. It's white on the inside and clear on the top so that I can easily spot and kill any parasitoid wasps that happen to be hitching a ride inside my cocoons. The front has a round opening that I'll put a double tube of panty hose over, which will give me a sleeve to allow me access to the inside of the chamber without opening a large hole through which the wasps or moths can escape. This is something that was a requirement for getting my USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) permit for having wild silkmoths and worms that are not native to the USA.

And, today those wild silkmoth cocoons arrived!

Those are 10 cocoons of Antheraea pernyi, the Chinese Oak Silkmoth. Right now we don't have leaves on the trees and it certainly doesn't look like spring yet around here, so I put the cocoons in the fridge. I'm nervous because I don't know how they were treated before they got here, and I'm hoping that they didn't get too warm and start developing. I really don't need them emerging in their box while they are still in my fridge. Or dying.

I'm going to wait until my oak tree gets some nicely developing buds before I take them out to develop. I hope I get the timing right or I might mess this up. I also hope I can get a breeding pair this time around. I only see one really big one, so I'm hoping I don't get one female and nine males. That would not work well. I'll update again as things progress!

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