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,

13 thoughts on “Kit Collection Reminder – Week of May 24th

  1. MaLisa, my white paint is pulling away from the cup. Are you having any issues with that?

    Thanks, Libby

    • I’ve had another collector say that two of their white cups have paint peeling off. Mine look a little bubbly after a day, and I have them stacked and drying now. Hopefully the paint sticks better.

      The white bowls aren’t that important since they aren’t UV reflective anyway, but I would like them to stay at least a little white. I’ll update the group if we need to repaint them or swap out in a few weeks. For now we should plan to use them as is.

  2. Thanks for the update…we were trying to get a collection in once a week.
    We were going to try to get an early start on this week but it looks like a rainout anyway!

  3. I’m trying a regular coffee filter, with a bit of the bottom cut out for fast water drain. I put the paint strainer in the coffee filter for support. We will see how it goes.

  4. I was able to get one collection in last week and hope to squeeze one in between thunderstorms this week! I folded a coffee filter to simulate a funnel and placed it surround the paint filter and that work but I really like the strainer idea!
    Have a good week!

  5. Thanks for the tips. I plan to use some of them. Now if I can pick a day when there’s no mowing…….. :-/

  6. I placed my strainer inside a kitchen sieve and it deteriorated even more quickly this week. Next time I am trying a funnel for more uniform support. Two of my white cups have peeled a bit but I will take care of them to make them last as long as possible.
    This week all of my blue cups were empty but one–one bee. The yellow cups are definitely the most attractive.
    I think that flies outnumber bees in my collection but so far my marsh is still very wet for their egg laying and larval growth.
    The green sweat bees are extremely active in nest hunting in decaying wood. The mason bees are all buttoned up in the still standing white ash trees. They’ll be down any day–they will not stay standing through winter.
    I think that I have found a Bombus nest in a rotting stump or at least I watched a queen enter at ground level and not exit.

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