November 22, 2014

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Observing the Woolly Bear

Just about everyone knows what a Woolly Bear Caterpillar, Pyrrharctia isabella looks like but very few know the later stages of the Woolly Bears life.  Over the next several months you can join us here at MyNatureApps.com as we follow Wizard our captive Woolly Bear Caterpillar. We’ll be watching Wizard as he makes his change from a caterpillar into an Isabella Tiger Moth. 

If you find a Woolly Bear and bring him in the house STOP and read this first before you  do anything else!  click here

 

If you would like to watch the transformation from caterpillar into moth first hand the first thing you’ll need to do is find a Woolly Bear. Fortunately that’s the easy part. Woolly bears are easily found in the fall months seeking out shelter to hibernate in or under. Look outside under lawn furniture, leaves, logs and rocks, your sure to find one.

Keeping a Woolly Bear captive for observation is fairly easy. You only need to gather a few things first.

  • The first you’ll need is a container which can be as simple as a plastic cup to the something the size of a small aquarium. We are using a clear plastic pot liner.
  • Cover the bottom of the container with  a little soil. Use soil from the area you found the caterpillar in. Place from 1/2 inch to 1 inch of soil in the bottom of your container.
  • Collect some grass and line the top of the soil with it.
  • Gather  leaves from the area you found the Woolly Bear in. Woolly Bears use  leaves for food, you’ll want to gather a variety of the leaves in the immediate area. Place 2 to 3 leaves in the container.
  • Put extra leaves in a plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator. Use these leaves to replace the leaves in the container as needed.
  • Place a few sticks inside the container for the Woolly Bear to climb on and to hide under as well.
  • Place a lid over the container with holes poked through so the Woolly Bear can get air but not escape.
  • Using a spray bottle mist the sides of the container and the surface of the leaves every three days. A few sprays is all you’ll need.
  • Place the container with your Woolly Bear outside somewhere safe where you can check on him regularly. You won’t need to  worry about fresh leaves and misting the surface once the weather is near or below freezing your Woolly Bear will be hibernating at this time.

Woolly Bears nearly freeze solid during hibernation. Their body produces a chemical called a cryoprotectant that acts like an anti freeze which protects their organs and body tissues from being damaged from freezing.  Once spring arrives and the outdoor temperatures begin to warm to the high 40’s and 50’s the caterpillar thaws out and becomes active again.  You’ll have to supply it with fresh food again at this point. Find some green leaves, dandelion leaves are great and are some of the first green leaves to show up in the Spring.

The Woolly Bear will soon spin a cocoon and pupate eventually emerging as an  adult Tiger Moth. When the caterpillar emerges as an adult it will have a short life span where it will need to find a mate and lay it’s eggs to complete the life cycle. The adult moth will only live for one to two weeks. They have no mouth parts so they essentially starve to death.

Once the Woolly Bear has made its cocoon you’ll want to place a the whole container with the top removed in a screened in area, this way you will be able to view the Tiger Moth without disturbing it. You can fabricate a small screen enclosure out of old screen windows or just pick up a few feet at the local hardware store.  You don’t need a huge screened area, a small roughly built 12 inch by 12 inch cage is plenty big enough.

After the Tiger Moth has emerged and you have been able to view him for a little while it’s important that you set him free so he can find a mate and fulfill the purpose of his life.  Simply bring the whole enclosure outside and remove the top and he’ll eventually fly awayOnce he finally takes off give yourself a big pat  on the back because over the past several months you witnessed one of the true miracles of Nature.  Enjoy!!

A little later in the year we’ll do an update on Wizard to let you know how he’s progressing and we’ll do a little folklore on the Woolly Bear.

 

 

3~31~13
Update
 

Ahhhhh….. Spring has finally decided to stop in for a visit, I certainly hope it stays. Yesterday was the first big melt and we still have about 2 feet of snow left to disappear. After 6 months of winter it can’t go away soon enough for me. The warm air jarred my memory that Wizard would be waking up soon from his deep sleep. A quick check in the shed and I found him nestled down in the soil under a maple leaf in the enclosure we made him last Fall.  IMG_0451I spent about 3 minutes yesterday making a new enclosure so we can witness the final miracle in Wizards life.

Nothing special really just some 2×2’s naiiled up to make a frame to hold some screen in place. Once Wizard completes his morph into a Tiger Moth we’ll snap a couple pictures and set him free to find a mate and complete his lifes mission.

 

 

 

4~16~13

A quick check on Wizard this evening revealed that he had spun his cocoon and was partially attached to the side of the container and a wilted dandelion leaf.  We had been placing fresh leaves in his enclosure everyday in case he decided to have a healthy snack. The last I looked in on him was the night of the 14th and he was still moving around. That means that IMG_0937sometime between the night of the 14th and this afternoon which is the 16th Wizard moved closer to the last stage of his life.  The image on the right is a perfect example of what a Woolly Bears cocoon looks like. If you look closely you’ll notice they even use their own hair to make their cocoon.

Wizard should be emerging from his cocoon sometime between 10 to 15 days from now.  I can’t wait to see him morphed into his new body and eventually fly away. 

Stay tuned there’s definitely more to come!

 

 


click here

Read the following before attempting to raise a Woolly Bear

Do Not try to keep a Woolly Bear caterpillar in your house because you think it’s to cold out. Your disrupting Nature and interfering with the natural life cycle of the caterpillar.  Woolly Bears are designed to withstand the coldest winter. They produce their own antifreeze and nothing will happen to them if left outdoors. You may have good intentions but you are NOT HELPING the caterpillar at all and in fact you may be KILLING IT!

If you plan on capturing and keeping a Woolly Bear captive for the winter then follow these suggestions.

  • Place the caterpillar in a container with twigs, soil and leaves (dried leaves to hide under)
  • Place the container outdoors, NOT inside your house. Place it somewhere safe like inside a shed or screened porch. Keep it out of the direct sunlight so it does not warm up and prematurely arouse the hibernating caterpillar.
  • If the caterpillar is still active you MUST supply it with fresh green leaves daily to eat.  Dandelion leaves are fine as are clover and fresh grass. Replace the leaves daily until the caterpillar hibernates. Once it awakens in the Spring you must supply fresh food again on a daily basis until it spins its cocoon.
  • Misting the container occasionally stops it from becoming to dry. Think of what happens outdoors. It rains, it snows, it’s humid. An occasional mist while it hibernates will not hurt it. Just do not saturate the container in water.
  • Woolly Bears are most active and night and sleep during the day.  It doesn’t mean it’s dead if it doesn’t move.
  • Once it spins its cocoon it may take from 1 to 3 weeks to emerge as a Tiger Moth.
  • Some Woolly Bears may spin their cocoon and remain inside that over the winter.
  • Remove any droppings that start to build up in the container while the caterpillar is active.
  • You must let the adult moth go free outdoors to complete its life cycle. It will find a mate, lay eggs and  die.

And finally worth repeating, Do not keep a Woolly Bear you found in the Fall inside your house because you think your helping it from the cold, you’re not!  It belongs outdoors where it’s cold. These creatures have survived millions of years without your warm house to save them. It’s a good practice to observe Nature but not interfere with it. 

A Day in a Tree

I’ve been here before, many times in fact
somewhere right here, is my tree
it’s been a few years and my memory has faded
 
with a shrug and a geezzzz…… “there it is”  whisper, I feel embarrassed   
an experience only someone who sits in trees can relate
 
it looks as sound as the day I built it
and I build up a sweat climbing the 15 feet with my pack, camera,tripod and rifle slung over my shoulder
 
the view is the same
Spectacular!
North up the beaver meadow 300 yards
South behind me one hundred
game trails crossing from East to West
a trickle of a stream flows by me
what once was a pond long and narrow
 
A neighboring Balsam has crowded my  perch
with the few small branches I break, the most pleasant  aroma engulphs my watch
sense of smell is one of the greater gifts I enjoy.
 
I’ve yet to see a deer from here
but it doesn’t really matter
the view, the creek, chickadees and squirrels
they all keep me entertained
 
hunting is much more than taking a deer
it’s the solitude
the peace, the calm, the wind, the smell
the outdoors
 
if a successful hunt is measured in meat and antlers
I have failed miserably
yet….. I have more trophy’s than any man I know
for each day outdoors is an adventure to me
and every  adventure is my trophy
 
 
 
 

Biomass Direct and Fisher Stoves, Buyer Beware!!

 

12/15/2013 Update

Through one of the comments left this past week it seems that Larry Boyd of Fisher Stoves/Biomass Direct has just closed his website down. We can only hope he’s out of business for good but I highly doubt it. If anyone has any first hand knowledge of any new website or business that Mr. Boyd may start  anew please let me know so I can update this post. We’ve saved quite a few people from this shyster and I would like to continue to do so.

So why should you BEWARE of Biomass Direct LLC ?  Well,….. as they operated Timber Ridge they promised you a 20 year warranty. That’s what attracted me to their company in the first place. What I didn’t know was that they do this on a regular basis. It seems anyone in Tennessee can start a company, promise the world and then declare bankruptcy to avoid any responsibility for the products they sell and then turn right around under a new name and sell the exact same product. I’m out over $10,000.00 on a boiler because they continually produce and sell a substandard product under multiple business names all with the  protection of the Tennessee Consumer Affairs Bureau.  Why with their protection?  Well after alerting them to this issue they said there is nothing they can do. Imagine that, they can’t do anything about a company that scams consumers, declares bankruptcy to void their warranties, starts a new business and sells the same product in a different package.  What are they there for?  Believe me when the warranty issues start to arise in a few more years with the Biomass Direct or Fisher Stoves outdoor boilers, they will close up shop again and be protected from any responsibility and just start another company. You WILL have issues with any stove they sell you, it’s just a matter of when, not if!

Of course they will dispute this claim, they want your money after all…. this is what they do, they swindle people like you and me.  They’ll say I didn’t take care of it properly or burnt things other than wood, they’ll need to discredit this post. Don’t believe them!!

Save yourself a small fortune on a bad investment and look elsewhere. Make sure you check into any company that sells outdoor boilers and see how long they have been in business. If it’s only a few years stay away.  If they say they have sold units for years, ask to see a copy of their licence of incorporation or proof of DBA from a government office. Contact that states Consumer Affairs Bureau to see if they have had any complaints.

You can find a lot of interesting reading on the former Timber Ridge now Biomass Direct LLC with a simple Google search.  Here are a few links to some.

http://fahrner.us/blog-mind-of-alan/44-alan-reviews/138-free-heat-machine-29-gallons-5-moose   scroll down to the complaints

More complaints http://www.topix.com/forum/city/portage-wi/T52H4OD6QJ51B5HBK

Yet another  http://outdoorwoodfurnaceinfo.com/forum/index.php?topic=2052.0

There are more site to read and videos on Youtube to watch but I think you get the picture.

 

Above all else notice the guy in the video…. he is the same one in all the videos of Timber Ridge, Fisher Stoves and Biomass Direct,  Larry’s his name.  Ask yourself this one question if your still thinking of purchasing one of their boilers. Why would the same guy be in the videos of three different companies and one no longer exists?   If I can stop one person from giving Larry another dime on his crooked business practice with Biomass Direct and Fisher Stoves then I have accomplished way more than the Tennessee Consumer Affair Bureau has done or is willing to do.

And Larry if your reading this……  justice will find you one day, bank on it!!

If you were scammed by Larry Boyd dba  Timber Ridge please leave a comment we would love to hear from you as I’m sure a possible future customer of Biomass Direct would also.

 

Post Note: 2/24/2013

I have been getting quite a bit of feedback both here and on other forums on the net about Larry Boyd and his business practices.  I would roughly estimate that this post has stopped at least 5 sales of his outdoor boilers. Those 5 are only the ones I know of directly, hopefully we have stopped others as well that did not leave a comment or email me.  The fact that he is posting on other forums about what a great product he has means we are making a dent in his business and I couldn’t be happier. It’s to bad  Tennessee Consumer Affairs won’t step up to the plate and put him out of business.  If your still in doubt of buying one of these units please read the comments section below. If you have any information on another company name change Larry Boyd is operating please let me know so I can adjust the blog and search engine key words.   Good luck to all of you and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.