Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tim's Bugs

 OK, if you don't know Tim, then you need to meet him here. He's one of my all-time favorite Internet friends. One thing I've learned about him is that while I may disagree with him from time to time, his takes are always well-considered.

Sometimes they're dead right.

A while back, I posted a photo of my tobacco leaves hanging in my garage. He commented that he saw some signs of nomming and wondered if I had caterpillars in the bunch. "Bah!" I said. "There might have been a few bugs on them in the garden, but not many."

To no one's surprise, he was right. Two of my Virginians got devoured as they cured. Here's the proof.

All in all, I think I found 20 munchers yesterday as I went through my leaves. Darn it, Tim was right again!

When I'm old and senile, I'll claim I was the one who first detected them. Sorry, Tim, that's the way senility goes.

In any case, only a few of the Virginians were ruined and my second fermentation chamber is ready to go. In this one, I've got a 40W bulb dangling inside it and a thermostat to turn it on and off, triggered by a temperature of 115.

The current fermentation chamber, which is a plastic tote bin with 5" of water and an aquarium heater keeping it at 95, is starting to give off that new-mown grass smell that tells you the tobacco is fermenting. I might try smoking some in my Mississippi corncob pipe pretty soon.

Assuming I can find the pipe, that is.


tim eisele said...

Very cool! I showed your picture to my daughters, and they both exclaimed about what wonderful caterpillars you have. They said they were beautiful, and were perfect examples of just what a caterpillar should be - large, green, and with interesting markings.

If I were in your position, I'd be planting tobacco every year just for the caterpillars (and putting out hummingbird feeders for the hawkmoths that they are going to turn into)!

I looked up how they deal with the nicotine in the tobacco. They apparently don't break it down or sequester it into their skins. Instead, they exhale nicotine vapor from their breathing spiracles, making a cloud of insecticide that drives off or kills predators like wolf spiders and assassin bugs. Which suggests that if you put a caterpillar in your pipe, and just sucked air through it, it would essentially be an all-natural vaping system. It might be hard to sell people on this way of getting their nicotine fix, though.

K T Cat said...

I can see the ads during a NASCAR broadcast now. "Just a 'pillar between my teeth and gums gives me real tobacco pleasure without lighting up!"