British usage of the word Billion is taken to mean a million millions (1 followed by 12 zeros). However an American billion is much smaller, just is 1000 millions (1 followed by 9 zeros). Considering American journalists have no mathematical schooling and apparently most college graduates in America have none as well, journalism idiots and government accountants who can't balance a checkbook let alone a budget have reduced the value of a billion to something they can count on ten fingers.
As Ruth wanders out to the back garden to make sure the pool is ready for use if someone feels ready to use it she discovers the same black bugs on the surface of the pool, only there they cling to one another to form bug rafts the size of a half dollar coin. Saturday morning in the final preparations for the afternoon get together it is pointed out to me by someone that there is a giant moth fluttering around on the porch. A quick trip into the kitchen to get a sandwich bag and moments later the moth is imprisoned in a zip-lock bag and prepared for photography. My iPhone is temporarily unavailable so Ruth puts a small take measure down adjacent to the moth baggie and shoots this photo of the moth. Being a university town I fire off an e-mail to Dr. Lance Durden at the Georgia Southern University biology department with the photograph knowing Monday he will be back in the office.
We returned home and shortly thereafter the Orkin man arrives in his new Scion iQ smartcar to hear our question about pest control and our beekeeping concerns. After a look at the barn and the house he works up a quote and bug brochure for preventative treatment of termites and with a note describing what we get for $1200 and a $300 annual maintenance fee.. We ask him about our new found friends as well. He too says he'll have to get back to us. Apparently whatever they are we shouldn't be alarmed.
Just after the Orkin man leaves I notice that for the second day in a row the bees are washboarding on one of the hives. It is sorely overcast with threatening thunderclaps occasionally heard, so it isn't "too hot" in the hive. This can only indicate overcrowding and buildup for a swarm. Time for a peek in the hive. Examining one of the two remaining hives with deeps in the gardens it was found that apparently at some time I had begun to remove frames from the deep hive box with the intention of adding that hive to the 'all mediums' class of hive. Somewhere along the line I had removed four of the deep frames and just left the box with six deep frames never replacing the frames with mediums to begin the transition. Last week we set Ruth out on her own beekeeping adventure as I am getting no pleasure out of having her help with mine and her instructing me on what can be done differently. We obtained an eight frame box and some new medium frames from Bobby over at B&G Honey and Ruth has painted the box and bottom board. Eight full frames is lighter than ten and eight mediums are lighter than deeps so the engineering seems to fit her needs. Her box sits at the end of the row of hives. But this is no time for theatrics on my part so I call Ruth to my aid to give an extra hand in converting the harvested comb to rubber banded medium frames to be put in medium supers above the deep.
The empty space in the deep four frame space is filled with rubber banded medium frame comb just harvested from the empty space the bees had so brilliantly filled with unsupported top bar frames, they simply had built comb down from the inner cover. By the time two additional medium supers we added to the hive and Ruth had gently repositioned the bees still clinging to the harvested honeycomb not used in medium construction tot he front porch of the repaired hive it was 5 PM and time for us to head over to Effingham County for Boy Scouts.
After leaving Rincon at 8:30 PM to return to the homestead we arrived back in Beefield just before 930. A quick check of my e-mail gave two answers to our bug questions. Carole Knight has written back to tell us the little black bugs are not ants, or gnats and defiantly not german cockroaches. The invaders are minute insects without wings in the Order Collembola called Springtails. They feed on fungi, fungal spores, and decaying, damp vegetation, causing organic material and other nutrients to return to the soil. Welcome the sultry south.
There was also a reply from Lance telling us the moth is a friendly visitor in the silkworm family. It is a male Callosamia angulifera ("tulip-tree silkmoth"), family Saturniidae. They usually fly at night but males will also fly in the daytime if they are following a pheromone trrail from a female.
And so I once more reminded that the more I learn, the less I know. As for the bees, well they sleep well on rainy nights in Georgia, which cannot be said for the frog on the windowsill who croaks with great pleasure while harvesting the bugs at the window. "It's not a dog barking at the chickens, it's a frog calling his girlfriend over for a late night snack.
And so ends this chapter in the night life of the bug watcher in Beefield. Hope this finds you well and brings a smile to your face at least once.