Saturday, June 05, 2004

Good bug stuff today:

A couple we know has recently started to keep bees. They're excited about it, and we happen to be the only members of their circle of friends to ever ask to visit their livestock. So, today we dressed in jeans and long-sleeved shirts, took a drive out to their home in the Kalamazoo exurbs, taped up every opening in our clothing, crowned ourselves with bee veils, and watched as they opened up their hives and did some routine colony maintenance. We've been told that we're the only people they know who actually find it relaxing to be surrounded by thousands of buzzing workers (plus the occasional drone). If we knew we were going to stay here and if I actually liked honey, I'd be tempted to adopt a colony myself. Since neither of the above is true, I may have to settle for sitting next to our raspberry patch while it's being pollinated by multiple bee and wasp species.

We've also discovered that fava beans have extrafloral nectaries. While working in the garden, Rick noticed that the undersides of the new leaves had tiny black spots on them, and that these spots were being licked by ants. Several web sites readily confirmed this observation.

Also went out last night to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The local premiere coincided with our friend Pam's birthday, so we went to a very late show that happened to be the only local showing that didn't sell out. Joyce and I were disappointed to realize that we were the only attendees in costume -- Joyce in a gray cloak with a witch's hat, and me in my master's gown with a homemade Ravenclaw badge (is any Hogwarts house better?) and carrying an enameled chopstick for a wand. On the way out, I pointed my wand at some cracks in our driveway and intoned, "Tetramorium caespitum! When I looked down at the cracks, they were filled with pavement ants. Magic!


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