Diary: Friday 24th of May 2002

‘Bert woke me at 3:45 am but I needed the loo anyway. To garage (lab) in rain……..disaster! Outlet from trays to bottom reservoir blocked and all trays near to overflowing. Flow from drip into SSL container of sand almost zilch. Larva had come to the surface looking for salt water and was squatting there, its rear half submerged in the sand and a slow drip was falling just behind its head.

Unblocked the outlet, and spent many cold minutes moving that salt water back up to the top reservoir and set everything back to normal and

Put an extra outlet hose leading into the bottom reservoir but need to upgrade to a larger plastic hose soon. How to have a steady flow of salt water through the container of sand without sand washing out the bottom must be sussed also.

Flow rate of salt water through the sand is obviously of great importance. Too slow and up she rises. If the outlet blocks and the row of trays fills with salt water, then the insect in question will topple out of the sand container into water instead of the outer (brown plastic) tray. Out of the frying pan into the fire. 

If the submersion time for the insects is all the same or close to it, I can ‘be there fore them’ when the time comes, and whip them quickly into their new bucket of over-Wintering sand. ( to wait for the larvae to hatch into a beetle and from there have it formerly identified as either P.truncatus or P. punctatis for the site).

This SS Larva should be up tomorrow if the last one is anything to go by. (somewhere between 8:15 and 9 pm.) To replicate the beach environment in even a small way is extremely tricky. Glad Bert woke me this morning.

Larger hoses are going to make for better results but this water still ends in a tiny space-the tap. An efficient filter will eliminate allthe hassles.’

(Saturday 25th May. First frost of the year here at our place in South New Brighton.)

The following nights:- This sand scarab larva did not surface & climb out after the same period of time as the last one did & night after night I trundled out to the lab to catch the hour & a half before low tide & hang around waiting.  With the low tide becoming later & later, several days sticking around until 2 or 3 a.m.was messing my workday up too much. One morning when I again found the drip system blocked, I emptied the container of sand & SSL was found to be dead. Now for some decent sleep.