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Green Bean

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About Green Bean

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  • Location
    Virginia, USA
  • Interests
    Beekeeping, gardening, cooking
  1. Bugs in Cyberspace got them back into stock, so I took the plunge and ordered 2 adult Gymnetis caseyi! I've got a 5 gallon tank, some substrate on the way, a couple of hides, a spray bottle, and lots of options for plants. Wish me luck! I'm going to try feeding them just fruit slices and see if the fruit fly situation is tolerable; if not, I'll try the jellies.
  2. Picked up my new nucleus colony today and installed them in their full-sized hive. This is my first time keeping bees; it's been an interest of mine for years, and earlier this year I took a 10-week class with our local beekeepers association. They were extremely gentle, even though I had a little trouble with the smoker. I didn't spot the queen, but she is marked with a bright yellow spot. Here's a picture!
  3. Green Bean

    Glorious scarab emerged tonight :)

    What a perfect beautiful chrome-green critter! I love its cute little face and mouth parts. Do you know the sex?
  4. The more the merrier, really! I was wondering that as well, and have heard 2-3 months.
  5. Green Bean

    Hello from Virginia, USA!

    Oh that's nuts— I'm like 30 minutes down 234 south from Manassas. Good to know there are some kindred spirits around. If there are a couple of us in the area, maybe it would be worth it to do a group meetup sometime.
  6. Green Bean

    Life's little surprises

    What cuties! Hope they do well. EDIT: In lab settings, rodents are humanely killed in a process called cervical dislocation (ie, their necks are broken in one quick motion which separates the spinal cord from the base of the brain completely). This kills instantly and painlessly, and is definitely more reliably effective than "bashing" them. If you're going to kill rodents yourself, please learn how to do it in a way that's humane for the animal and not distressing for you. Seeing traumatic violence, even if you're the one doing it and even if it's for a purpose you feel ok with, can be bad for you. EDIT 2: Oops, I should really check the dates on these things before I go resurrecting threads which have been dead for years. Sorry!
  7. Green Bean

    Hello from Virginia, USA!

    That's so neat— what kind of research was it? Because our association is so well-connected, I likely will have an opportunity to participate in studies, and certainly perform some of my own on a less formal basis. (I don't have a background in sciences, but my sister, whom I live with, is a biologist/public health student.) There was actually an open invite for beekeepers to join in a big survey that involved outfitting hives with a special wifi-enabled scale, which would track the weight of the hive over time (this is a fairly reliable way to estimate basics like whether the bees are storing food, or raising a lot of brood). I decided not to participate this season, because it'll be my first and I didn't want to overcomplicate things. It's not uncommon for colonies to die, especially with inexperienced beeks. Bees are really fascinating creatures, and I've found that I've learned a ton about our local environment in general just from preparing to keep them. For example, I have never been great at plant ID (mostly because I wasn't really paying attention; it was mostly miscellaneous green stuff to me), but I have learned the names of most common herbaceous plants, as well as their various attributes and bloom times. I've also been learning surprising details about common plants that I had never thought about— for example, holly bushes flower prolifically! The white or pink "petals" on dogwood trees are not actually petals, they are a type of modified leaf called bracts! Purple deadnettle has vibrantly red and orange pollen! Our property is in a pretty large stand of forest (the forest is large, the property is a little over one acre), which limits foraging, so I've also been working on turning large parts of the yard into a kind of "bee buffet," stocked with flowering plants selected so that something is in bloom from April to October. As a result, I have learned so much about soil ecology, and am currently growing a crop of sweetclover and other nitrogen-fixing flowering legumes to use first as bee food, then as green manure to condition our very acidic, very clay-heavy soil.
  8. Green Bean

    Hello from Virginia, USA!

    Oh man, those are really striking creatures. Good luck, and keep us updated on their progress!
  9. Thanks guys! This sounds totally doable! I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but: it's my understanding that if I keep a group in the same enclosure, they will breed freely with one another regardless of whether or not they are consanguine (and I would imagine that if I get them all from the same supplier, they will be directly related, maybe siblings or half-siblings). Is that a problem if it happens over successive generations with a relatively small, closed population? I know that this can intensify traits and breeders often use it to magnify interesting variations such as color morph, but is it likely to be deleterious to the health of the resulting beetles, similarly to how intensive in-breeding is inadvisable for mammals? Should I order from different suppliers for the initial batch, to ensure a varied gene pool at least starting out? Do sellers distinguish between captive-bred and wild-caught specimens, and should it matter to me which I get? Also, do resulting eggs and larvae need to be removed from a common enclosure with adults to ensure survival? Is it cool to have individuals at different stages cohabitating? I imagine that even if the adults are herbivorous, they probably do practice some degree of cannibalism (either larvae eating each other, or larvae and adults eating eggs). Do any of you have live plants in your beetle enclosures? I think this could be pretty attractive, and possibly enriching for the beetles (to whatever extent beetles can be enriched, I guess).
  10. Green Bean

    Legal to import insects?

    The superfamily Apoidea actually includes all bees (the clade Anthophila), as well as a bunch of different wasps. Dead bees can't be imported without a special permit because the USDA doesn't want to risk the introduction of foreign parasites or diseases. For the same reason, you can't import used equipment or nest material, wax that hasn't been melted, or honey or pollen for feeding bees (feeding people is fine). There's also a rule against importing bees from any genus except Apis, for reasons I'm not totally clear on.
  11. Hi, all, I'm just getting into beetles, and I found one that I think I'd like to try keeping, but I have a lot of questions that I haven't been able to find answers to elsewhere. The Harlequin Flower Beetle (Gymnetis caseyi) is the thing I've been looking at. It appears to be sizeable but not intimidating (I have never kept insects other than bees), diurnal, pretty easy to rear from larvae, and a vegetarian (which saves the step of keeping a colony of prey for it). I have found little information about this specific species, likely because it's a very large genus. Does this seem like a reasonable first beetle? Are there any books or must-read literature you could recommend, regarding pet beetles generally or G. caseyi specifically? How long do they live as adults? How many should I keep in one enclosure, and how large of a habitat do they need? Will they be stressed if they live alone vs. with others, and does the sex of the other individuals matter in terms of compatibility as cagemates? Can the larvae be sexed visually? Should I start with more than one larvae? What temperature should the substrate be kept at? Do they make any noise? What pests, if any, are they vulnerable to? Is a five gallon aquarium an alright size for these beetles? I know that's a ton of questions; if you happen to have any answers for me, especially in regards to further reading, I'd appreciate it!
  12. Green Bean

    Hello from Virginia, USA!

    Just keeping them, really, and all the things involved with that! I've witnessed swarm captures and trap-outs, but never performed one myself. I'm very new to the hobby. Our local association is extremely active, and we have folks who breed queens (one of our members maintains two pure Russian lines) and participate in research studies. I'm just not quite there yet.
  13. Green Bean

    Help for identification

    I think you've got a Variegated Cutiebug right there. Don't recall the scientific name. Good find!
  14. Green Bean

    Name That Plant 4!

    Neat thing about Skunk Cabbage; at least in the Southeast USA, it's one of the first pollen sources available in spring, sometimes even earlier than Red Maple. The pollen is often black, which is cool to see.
  15. Green Bean

    Hello from Virginia, USA!

    Hi, all! I'm brand new to this specific corner of the world of bugs, but interested in maybe keeping a beetle or two as pets. I say "this corner" because I do have regular contact with a different part of the class— earlier this year I decided to pursue a lifelong interest in bees and become a hobbyist beekeeper. Working with bees made me realize that I'm not actually afraid of bugs generally (still a little nervous about handling them bare-handed, but I think I'll get over that with time) and in fact find them pretty cool. My first colony of bees arrives later this week, but I decided that I'd also like to investigate other insect pets. Beetles appeal primarily because there are options that seem easy to keep healthy, and unlike bees, they can live in my house. (Or, they can live in my house without it being an enormous problem, I guess is more accurate.) I have a lot of questions before I actually take the plunge and get a beetle-pal, so here I am! I'm also excited to see what all of you guys are up to.