As some of you may be aware I have been spending much of my work time recently on putting together new insect displays for the museum gallery. I have about 4 dioramas to make as part of this and this is the first one that I have completed.
Andrena is a genus of bee that dig burrows- at least the females do anyway, and they then create little nests at the bottom for their eggs so I created a fullscale burrow with fake plants around the edges (note my wonderful dandelion plant wot I did make- am very proud of myself for this one!). The base is made from florists oasis which I cut to shape and coated in various layers of PVA, clay pebbles, sand and bits of soil (microwaved first to kill off the woodlice). It has about 10 layers of all these things and then it had been painted with both a wet and dry coat of different coloured paint so that it has texture and resembles soil as closely as possible without actually being soil. The leaves are all made from florists wire and tape (the kind they use for decorating cakes) which is then cut and bent into shape to try and make it look as authentic as possible. As a finishing touch we used some real dead bees. The female is the ginger one at the edge of the burrow whilst the male is circling above her awaiting his chance. Giggadee.
This one is only a small model- it's finished dimensions is 4x4x4"s or thereabouts. The model I'm making for the Forensic Entomology display is much, much bigger and we are only in early stages with that one but you can expect pictures as soon as there is anything to see!