A very busy year takes us to many places including the historic town a Swainsboro where restoration work is heavily underway on a grand nineteenth century Victorian home. The restoration crew must replace some of the architectural column materials because of the freezing rains and the scorching sun have caused the porous materials which were used to create the column capital - Kapital Basis vom Monumen Lysikrates zu Athens - to begin to deteriorate. This created openings for honeybees to set up a hive. Once we were in the hive it was obvious to see that they had been there ten or more years. The colony had been quite successful from evidence of several queen cells from over the years as well as a well wrapped center support column in wax comb filling a cavity of about 10 gallons. The pictures below show the progress. We found that the capitals were constructed using hemp. The masonry component materials to form the decorative was red brick dust. The layers of white paint over the many years sealed the materials, however the infrequency of painting with the mixture of oil base core layers and latex in later years created an unstable seal in the many areas where water was captured during weather events. This water seeped into the materials saturating them to bring black mildew, incident of freeze damage, mold, and fungal growth. Additionally it was apparent from the inside of the capital that termites had consumed a great deal of the interior of the capital column. No damage was found in the column itself showing termites found the same opening bees did during flight.
Mark & Ruth Mettler
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