Friday, March 19, 2010

Cozy By the, errr . . . Microscope?

There's a slight blizzard outside which always tends to shift everyone's Friday night plans.

For many, a night out turns into a cozy night in.

Such is the case with me. The picture below is totally where I've been for the past 6 hours.
Well . . .


You have to replace the fire with an 80 year old radiator and the wine for a can of 7UP.

(By the way - the prop person for this photo shoot should be fired. Nice cozy evening. Clearly there is a couple enjoying themselves in front of the fireplace and having some wine. Know why you don't see them? Because she left him when he busted out the party warehouse paper napkin for them to share. People who care about rings on their coffee table are the same people who own coasters. I'm just saying.)

Okay - so actually my night is nothing like this. I've been doing bee research. Because it's really boring I took pictures to explain what I'm researching at the moment.

This? Is the far end of my living room. Microscope, computer, and about 8 billion bees in vials of alcohol.

First I remove the bee from its vial and evaluate baldness and wing wear. (Exciting, yes?)
And I check it for Varroa mites.

Then I flip her over and pin her down under alcohol.

(Yes, I took a picture with my phone through my microscope eyepiece. Can we not focus on this and just move on??)

Then I pop off her little head so I can do a necropsy. (I should get a prize for working the word "necropsy" into a blog)

What I'm looking for are any Tracheal mites. See that thing sticking up out of the neck hole? ("neck hole" that's another prize methinks.) That's one of her trachea. No mites. It would be good news for her except she's dead.

Then I put her head and body in a centrifuge tube with some fresh alcohol and an ID label so I can send them all on their way to be blended up and checked for viruses and bacteria.

That's someone else's job.

I don't have the counter space.

Plus I've been known to accidentally eat blended up bee heads.

(Just seeing if you're still paying attention.)
(I have a feeling I lost most people when I started taking pictures through my microscope.)
(You'd think that you'd feel sorry for me instead of laughing at me for being a geek.)
(If you really want something to laugh at I could mention that while doing this I watched 4 hours of The Golden Girls)
(That I bought on DVD the other night)
(Let's move past that too.)


  1. I would like to say that you are a nerd, but because of your blog I have learned something while drinking wine and facebook'ing my roommate who I am also sitting across the table from. And this?!?! is why summer needs to hurry up! Then I can help you collect bugs that you can catalog next winter!

  2. Holy crap you are like that flirty nerd from silence of the lambs!!! ( but this was seriously interesting)
    (and gross)
    (but totally funny;))

  3. you PARTY ANIMAL!!! i'm glad to hear that bee project wasn't abandoned; if you're short of bees (doubtful) i still have some from last summer, including some i got while in New Mexico. great pics, by the way, especially for a phone cam (aww beautious technology)

  4. Oooooh! I'll take your bees! I have all of your vials here and whenever I pick one I squeal a little! Of course, that also means that I cringe every time I pick a vial collected by Chad Haines & Patrick Casto. . .

  5. alrighty-roo (dammit! my bosses say that all the time and now they've got me doing it! it's toughing being the youngest by at least 30 years!) i'll bring 'em by the butterfly pavilion, unless we end up making plans in denver, like you, me, zahra, and some sassy nail stylists giving us decals!

  6. holy crap! please forgive the typo; this is so embarrassing!