Kit Collection Reminder – Week of May 24th

Hi Everyone!
This is your reminder to try to put out your traps sometime this week. Be sure to wait at least 7 days from your last sampling. So if you set your traps on Saturaday, you need to wait until next Saturday before considering whether to trap again.
Check the weather for your part of Ohio for the day you hope to sample. Note that weather predictions past 3 days tend to be pretty iffy, so check the weather forecast regularly. If the forecast looks like it is more than a 25% chance of rain, do not sample on that day.
Additional filter “hacks”:
I love working with large groups of Ohioans, because together we are really good at problem solving. The filters definitely don’t hold up well to all the water from our cups, so having something else to hold them makes them less likely to rip.
I used a kitchen strainer to hold mine, which worked fine (and we weren’t using it for anything in the kitchen anyways). It still isn’t perfect, but it gets the job done.

The strainer method works to safely hold the paint filters! Just make sure to wash it well before using for food again.

Elizabeth created her own milk jug carrying containers: one to hold the stacked cups, and another to pour the cup contents into (and then pour that through the strainer once back home).
Rich and Bob used a funnel for support of the filter, which also works well. Funnels can be found at most stores in the kitchen or automotive section.
So hopefully one of these options will work for your samples. See previous posts for other filter workarounds.
Bee facts of the week: 
  • Small Carpenter bees (Ceratina spp) have started to emerge! Ohio has 4 species of Ceratina, but they can be somewhat challenging to differeniate (especially calcarata/mikmaqi/dupla). All of our species are in the subgenus Zadontomerus, so if you submit any small carpenter bee photos to iNaturalist, they will likely get tagged as that. The Small Carpenter bees are stem nesters, choosing to chew through the pith of broken plant stems from the previous year. They can be semi-social, with weird family structures. See: Nesting biology and subsociality in Ceratina calcarata (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

This female Small Carpenter bee can be found foraging on clover

ID tip of the week:
  • Small Carpenter bees (Ceratina spp) are small bees with a darker metallic greenish tint. Female Small Carpenter bees often have a small yellow spot on the center of their face (on the clypaeus), whereas males have a much larger “sombrero” patch of yellow. For the Discoverlife key and images of characters, see:

This male Ceratina peeks out of a stem.  You can see his yellow “sombrero” or UFO on his face.

What’s that bycatch?
  • Sometimes other small insects or arthropods also land in our traps. Although they are not our intended focus of this project, I will try to give a little bit of info about different groups we might see in our traps. So hopefully you learn a little  entomology along with all of our awesome bee knowledge. If you want a specific group covered that you are seeing a lot of in your traps, let me know!
  •  I finally got a break in the rain, so my cups got deployed this weekend. The first few traps I picked up, I noticed I had several small springtails (Class Collembola) in my cups! These are very easily overlooked or mistaken for specks of dust or dirt in your bowls. Springtails are a rather diverse group of hexapods that were once considered insects, but are now their own Class (like how insects are now in Class Insecta). There are over 8,000 species of springtails worldwide and an unknown number of species occur in Ohio. Almost all of them are really small, and thus easily overlooked. They are mostly decomposers and rarely considered pests. Many have thin, elongate bodies, though the order of Globular Sprintails are a notable exception. See Springtail Orders here:

This trap caught 4 bees, a leaf, and one springtail. Some of my other traps has several springtails, but my cellphone decided not to focus on them, so I am using this image instead. We might revisit this group later in the summer with better images.

Also check out this awesome high speed video on the “spring” of these wonderful beasts!


Best wishes,

Kit Collection Reminder – Week of May 17th

Hi Everyone!
This is your reminder to try to put out your traps sometime this week.
If you haven’t received your kit yet, please let me know. If you received two kits on accident, please let me know that as well.
If you are sampling on land that is not your own, be sure to get collection permission before hand. If you haven’t gotten permission yet and are running into issues getting permission, please reach out to MaLisa via email.
Check the weather for your part of Ohio for the day you hope to sample. For those of us in central Ohio, our sampling prospects don’t look very promising for a few days. Note that weather predictions past 3 days tend to be pretty iffy, so check the weather forecast regularly. If the forecast looks like it is more than a 25% chance of rain, do not sample on that day.
Filter issues: 
As you may have already seen, some people were able to put their traps out this weekend and ran into some issues with our paint strainers not holding up. There are some slight differences in paper quality from the strainers I initially saw and the ones we had to reorder, but we can make due.
Denise was on the ball and already posted a potential solution by using a coffee strainer on our webpage here:
Dianne also sent us an email saying that the plastic cones for pour over coffee works well to hold them in the field too. I imagine a large cooking strainer or sieve would also make it slightly easier to hold them in the field if you have one of those lying in the depths of your kitchen.  Brooks worked out a short term solution using the zipoc bag to hold the strainer as well, so you have a few options.

Dianne’s coffee filter cone works well to hold the paint filters in the field.

Bee facts of the week: 
  • Many mining bees (Andrena spp) are flying right now! So expect to get a few in your traps. Ohio is expected to have about 100 species, but with your help, we should find out! Many of these mining bees are floral specialists, which means they rarely stray onto other flower types. For a few examples, see:
ID tip of the week:
  • Mining bees (Andrena spp) are mostly black or brown. Female mining bees have distinct facial fovea (vertical eyebrows) and extra fluffy “armpit” hairs, which help differentiate them from other groups. Size can be varies by species, with some half the size of honey bees and others a bit larger.
What’s that bycatch?
  • Sometimes other small insects also land in our traps. Although they are not our intended focus of this project, I will try to give a little bit of info about different insect groups we might see in our traps. So hopefully you learn a little other entomology along with all of our awesome bee knowledge.
  •  This week, Bill found many adult sawflies in his traps. The larvae of this group look a lot like moth caterpillars, but have extra sets of legs and smaller eyes. Similar to moth caterpillars, most sawfly larvae feed on plants, and can be host specific. Adult sawflies can be confused  with bees, other wasps, and sometimes flies. They have rather chunky bodies and lack the characteristic narrowed waist found in bees.  For more info on Sawflies, see:
Best wishes,
MaLisa Spring

Paint filter issue and a solution

Hi all! Maybe you had a similar experience this week with the bee survey paint filters? The filter paper is rather flimsy, and was nearly disintegrated by the time I finished picking up my bowl contents.

If you put the paper filter inside a coffee filter before you empty your bowls, this should suffice to gather your catch. Just let the soapy water drain through, then fold the two together and put them in the week’s ziploc bag. Cone or basket filter should work.



Participant sign-up is now open!

I’m happy to announce that the we have opened the participant sign-up for The Ohio Bee Survey!

Visit Be a Bee Collector to learn more about the Ohio Bee Survey and what bee collectors will do.

If you’d like to participate by setting and collecting bee bowls over the 21-week collection period this year, please visit this page to sign up.

Remember that we’re in need of bee collectors in each county in Ohio, so choosing a less-populated county (if possible) will greatly help the project. We hope to have the kits mailed out to collectors in early May, with bee collection beginning thereafter.
Be sure to let Denise ( or MaLisa ( know what questions you have.

Where are the bees? Find out at Dawes in 2020…

The Bee Survey Team@Dawes will begin training team members in 2020. This 25-hour training program will introduce participants to the fundamental elements of bee field research including research design, methods and ethics. Participants will learn and practice field survey techniques as well as sorting, pinning and labelling specimens in the “lab.” Sessions will include indoor and outdoor experiences.

Participants will:

* Learn transect, quadrat and bee bowl techniques

* Collect, sort, pin and label bee specimens

* Develop bee identification skills to the genus level

* Participate in ongoing bee field research at The Dawes Arboretum and through the Ohio Bee Survey.

When: training sessions will be held monthly in 2020 on the third Tuesday from February through June. We will also have a field practice day in June and a follow-up session in September.

February 18, March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, June 23 (field practice day), September 15 (follow-up)

Daily schedule – 10am – 2pm (gather at 9:30)

Where: The Dawes Arboretum, Newark

The instructor team has extensive experience designing and conducting bee field research. Instructors include: Shana Byrd, Olivia Carril, Denise Ellsworth (organizer), Karen Goodell, MaLisa Spring, Livia Raulinaitis, and Jamie Strange

Who should register:

Applicants should already have an understanding of bee biology and identification, such as Ohio pollinator advocates, Volunteer Pollinator Specialists, OSU wild bee field school participants, college students or equivalent. This is NOT a program appropriate for bee biology/ID beginners.

Maximum enrollment is 20 due to space and microscope limitations.

Preference will be given to participants who are willing and able to volunteer with the ongoing non-lethal transect surveys at Dawes Arboretum and/or with specimen collections through the Ohio Bee Survey,. Participants must be committed to attending all training sessions.

Cost to participate: $100 (due in January). Accepted participants will be contacted in January with payment details.

Many supplies and materials will be provided. Participants will bring a packed lunch.

For more information or questions: contact Denise Ellsworth,

Apply to participate beginning on December 2nd at 9AM. This program will sell out quickly!

Applicants will be contacted by the end of the week (12/6) to let you know if there’s a space for you in the program.