Monday, August 16, 2010

Things Look Bleak for the Scale

We just uncorked the Chamber of Doom, took a leaf sample and examined the scale thereon. Nothing was moving. However, it may not have been the asphyxiation that did it, if dead they all be.

With the glass lid on, it got hot enough in the Chamber of Doom to melt the Candles of Asphyxiation.

I spent about 10 minutes looking for anything moving from my plant scrapings. I found lots of crawlers, but none of them were crawling. With the same sample size in previous examinations, I was always able to find a couple moving about after a while.

Paraffin wax melts at 125, but hybrid waxes seem to melt at higher temperatures. If that was what worked, then we've got a terrific solution for future infestations.

I'm cautiously optimistic.


Kelly the little black dog said...

Won't that kill the plant?

K T Cat said...

Momma Daisy came out looking like she'd been to a health spa. She was green, perky and blooming.

Tim Eisele said...

What kind of wax were those candles? The color is a close match for beeswax, which gets kind of squishy at about 100 F (a nice fever temperature). They obviously didn't melt, or else you'd have had puddles, like what I get out of my solar beeswax melter.

At any rate, I do believe you may be on to something here! As long as the daisy is well watered and the chamber is not too humid, she can cool herself off for a while by evaporative transpiration (call it plant sweat, if you like), but I don't think the scale are so lucky (they are built to conserve moisture, not evaporate it).

And a big advantage of heating over suffocating, is that reasonably accurate thermometers are *way* cheaper than oxygen sensors.

That's what I love in experiments: when the original theory doesn't pan out, but the observations made lead to a new, much more productive approach!

(It happens to me all the time in the lab.)