June 14th – Field Safety, Collection Reminders, and Facts of the Week

Field Safety:

  • Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses – Regardless of where you are sampling, there is a chance of running across a tick that might be able to transmit a disease. Lyme disease is the most notable and spread by Deer Ticks, but there are several other maladies transmitted by various ticks in Ohio. It is important to do a tick check after every walk or hike outside and to immediately remove any ticks that you find to reduce the chance of catching any potential illnesses. Learn more about ticks in Ohio in this short video here: https://u.osu.edu/bite/2020/05/09/stay-tick-safe-this-spring/ and on the Ohio Department of Health Page here: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/zoonotic-disease-program/resources/tickborne-diseases
  • Wearing boots, long pants, etc – make sure to wear closed toe shoes and long pants when going out to areas with tall vegetation. Not only does that protect you from getting cut on grass, you have an extra layer of protection between your skin and any potential danger. I’ve had my fair share of cuts, scrapes, and plant irritants (looking at you stinging nettle), so I try to make sure I have as much covered as possible. I had a run-in with some fishing line last year that turned out still had the hook at the end. I didn’t notice until the hook started digging into my pants, but thankfully it didn’t break my skin. There are plenty of unforeseen hazards when going anywhere, but making sure to wear protection helps reduce at least some risk.

Collection kit sampling reminder: For those of you with collection kits, 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 Saturday, 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.

If you can no longer put out your collection kit, please let me know so we can work on getting the kit into the hands of another volunteer instead.

Bee facts of the week: 

  • Mining Bees in the little black bee group (Calliopsis spp) can be locally abundant in Ohio, though are not often photographed. I have only seen them alive twice that I can recall, but they have shown up in many of my bowl traps. They are associated with sandy areas. I have found them along a sandy stream bed, in vacant lots with sandy soil in Cleveland, and at an oil field site which also had abundant sand. If you are visiting an area with sandy soil, watch out for these!

This male Eastern Mining Bee (Calliopsis andreniformis) is perched on some sandy soil. The bright yellow legs and bright yellow face set it apart from other groups.

ID tip of the week:

  • Mining Bees in the little black bee group (Calliopsis spp) are small, with wide black bodies with some yellow. The Eastern Mining bee (Calliposis andreniformis) is the species we have confirmed in Ohio, with C. coloradensis and nebraskensis as other possible species. They are sexually dimorphic, with the male Eastern Mining bee having bright, entirely yellow legs and a mostly yellow face. Meanwhile, the female Eastern mining bee has black legs and yellow restricted to three distinct patches on the face. See page 16 of the Bees Of Ohio Field Guide for more details. To see characters for the other potential species and the face patterns, see: https://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Calliopsis

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!

This bowl didn’t catch a lot, but we did find this large fly!

Here is a larvae of a crane fly (with a photo bomb by a stonefly on the left)

My attempt at getting a photo of the appendages and parts of this cranefly larvae did not go nearly as well as the image on Flickr by John Hallmen. However, you can see what looks like a face, but note these are actually related to breathing structures in their butt!

  • Many people misidentify Crane Flies as giant mosquitoes, but note that these large, soft bodied flies are not out to get you! They are generally considered beneficial (and good bird/fish food). Some actually eat mosquitoes as larvae, whereas many others are decomposers that feed on decaying vegetation. To learn more about differentiating the many families of flies that look like Crane Flies and Mosquitoes, see this awesome guide by Even Dankowicz: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/edanko/36353-guide-to-nematoceran-families

Meanwhile, this adult Crane Fly has some rather interesting patterning on its wings. Note the pair of halteres (little drumbstick things behind the first pair of wings) that are clearly visible and helps verify that this is a true fly.

Is that a bee?

  • In this brief section, I will show a photo of a bee bowl and let you guess how many of the insects are actually bees. Don’t worry about properly identifying bees in your bowls for now, as we will go through processing them together at the pinning parties in the fall.  This is just so you can start to recognize some of the bees during the season and get an idea of how many bees you actually have.





Okay, did you make your guesses?

A lot of my cups were sparse last week, so not a lot to pick through. This cup had one large bee (circled) and a single skipper.

And that is all I have for you this week. May the weather cooperate for your sampling and may you stay safe.

Best wishes,


4 thoughts on “June 14th – Field Safety, Collection Reminders, and Facts of the Week

  1. Hi there. An errant mowing machine hit a couple of our cups. We were able to unsquish them but they had small holes. Wayne found that electrical tape on the outside works and the water stays in those cups for our next testing! Phew.

    • Oh no! I’m glad you were able to fix them! Let me know if you start running low (say under 15 usable cups) and we will try to work on getting you replacements.

  2. Hello. All apologies if the subject of this message has been discussed. I am in week four of collecting. I am very curious as to how the bees will be pulled for identification, from the frozen paint strainer, among the other various frozen bycatch. This type of collecting if very new to me and each time I place the paint strainer, with the catch, into the Bee Collection box, I wonder how what seems to be an entanglement of insect parts will it be researched. How do the insect (bee) parts withstand the frozen cluster?

    • Bees are actually pretty tough. So once they thaw out, they retain their shape pretty well and are relatively easy to separate from the other bugs and then pin them. Hopefully we will be able to have a pinning party or smaller gatherings so everyone gets the chance to process at least one of their samples.

      Some of the bycatch like the flies might not fare so well since they squish so much more easily, but we will do what we can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *