Monday, February 27, 2017

I wish common sense was more common...

Many moons ago, in what seems like another life, I ran a small sign shop from this very building I am sitting in now, writing this blog update. It's of wooden construction and sits at the bottom of the back garden. Here's how it looked in those days...

That was back in the 90s and nowadays I no longer run a business from here and so the space is predominantly used for my photography and as a peaceful haven to write my magazine articles...

You can probably see that I still have all of my traditional signwriting reference books, and indeed, a small area for painting/lettering, should I get the urge...

Yes, I realise it's a bit of a jumble, or should that be jungle? But that's me, I didn't ever win any prizes for keeping my work-space ship-shape and Bristol fashion. 

Why am I telling you all this? Well, now that my little studio gets used for mostly nature related things, I store all manner of goodies in here: right now for instance, as well as the Emperor moth pupae and a number of Hawk-moth chrysalis, plus a couple of other things, it is also where my stick insect lives.  

Anyone who is familiar with my Flickr photostream will possibly have already seen a couple of pictures of the stick insect, but probably not the latest moult...

At this point in the story, I need to fess up to being a complete idiot!

You see I thought it would be best to leave a heater on in here to ensure the temperature doesn't fall too low for the stick insect's comfort. It has been working really well. Just by employing the lowest setting possible, I have managed to keep things at a pretty stable level. The bug loves it and is thriving but I completely disregarded the pupae! 

Even though I had them placed in the coldest spot, on a window sill, it must have been too warm for them and horror of horrors, one has emerged, a good 2 months ahead of time...

A Lime Hawkmoth (Mimas tiliae)

And so what's to be done? Very little is the answer. These adult moths should be on the wing May - July and so it is still far too cold to release one in my opinion. The other thing to consider is that they don't feed and so, unless there is a sudden upturn in temperatures, I guess this one will have to spend its time here with me. 

I still have several complete pupae that I think I will move to either the fridge, or to a sheltered spot outside, to prevent the emergence of anymore. They are beautiful moths and I only have myself to blame for allowing this one to emerge so early. A lesson learned/learnt!

Until the next time...


  1. Think your 'space' looks incredibly tidy (back then and now) and very well organised as well.
    Hope that the emerged moth fares ok! I guess if the temperature is lowered a little, it will just go into a sort of torpor? Stunning photos as ever too!
    M x

    1. Wow thanks! It's a bit like me really...may look a little desheveled but at least it's clean 😊
      Yes, I have already moved the moth away from any heat source and it seems pretty static now.

      Thanks for your comment and the nice things you said about my photos Maria.

  2. Haha, that's really funny! I've yet to see a Lime Hawkmoth so it was a nice surprise to see one here on your blog, so early. Do you think it will survive until the weather warms up? I hadn't realised you had a pet stick insect. Does it have a name? :-)

    1. Hello Mandy, thanks for your visit.

      I would be amazed if this moth survives long enough. Moths are by nature short-lived and the non feeding species could only expect a few weeks at best, but I live in hope.

      My stick insect doesn't have a name. Although my good friend Tim Ransom thinks 'Stig' would be apt as it means The Wanderer.


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