Libby shared with me these neat bee cards that are quick overviews of bee biology and natural history. Check them out here: https://www.greatsunflower.org/sites/default/files/Observer-Bees-ebook-EOL.pdf
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. I’ve had several weeks of weather causing me to need to delay, so I’ve been able to sample only about every other week.
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:
- Yellow Faced or Masked Bees (Genus Hylaeus, Family Colletidae) are relatively common bees that are easily overlooked. Instead of carrying pollen on their legs or abdomen, they have a specialized crop that allows them to store it internally. I most often find them foraging on plants in the carrot family like Queen Anne’s Lace, but they can be observed foraging on a variety of plants. There are around 16 species of Hylaeus thought to occur in Ohio, which includes several newly invasive species to North America. Cleveland currently has the earliest known record of Hylaeus pictipes in North America, being documented there in 2011 as part of a research project. A few H. pictipes have been photographed in the Northeastern part of the state this year, so we will likely find a few in our cups as well (fingers crossed). There are also some other new Hylaeus that have been documented in Canada, so we need to watch for spreading in Ohio.
ID tip of the week:
- Yellow Faced Masked Bees (Genus Hylaeus, Family Colletidae) are most often mistaken for tiny non-bee wasps. Their small size, thin bodies, and lack of hair makes them seem very un-beelike. However, once you get to recognize them you start to see them in a lot of places. Females tend to have two yellow triangles on their face (see below), whereas males tend to have much more yellow. The amount of yellow on the face and other parts of the body varies by species and many of the species are challenging to officially differentiate. To learn species level ID characters, see: https://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Hylaeus_female
- 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 week, our bycatch of the week was co-written by Dr. Rich Bradley and myself.
One group you may find in your cups are spiders (Order Araneae). They are fairly easy to recognize with their eight legs, but don’t confuse them with harvestman (Order Opiliones) which are “cousins”, but not spiders. The harvestman (aka daddy-long-legs) are typically pretty successful at avoiding being trapped, but you may find some. We have at least 650 species of spiders known to occur in Ohio in 44 families, with another 48,000 species of spiders described in the world! Spiders are predatory and generally considered beneficial. We only have two medically significant types of spiders (Black Widows, and Recluses, the later of which are restricted to the SW corner of the state). These medically significant spiders are unlikely to show up in our bowls given their normal predation strategies. Spiders can be tricky to identify to species and often require looking at reproductive structures under a microscope to confirm. The arrangement of their eyes also helps determine some family level differences in spiders. See the eye arrangement page on Bugguide here: https://bugguide.net/node/view/84423
Spiders that wander into the cups include mostly ground active groups like the wolf spiders (Family Lycosidae) and the stealthy ground spiders (Family Gnaphosidae). Wolf spiders have four of their eight eyes arranged in a trapezoid on the top of the front part of the body (cephalothorax). These eyes are quite large and often visible with your naked eyes. Ground spiders often have a pair of distinctive large cylindrical spinnerets (those little finger-like projections at the back of the abdomen were silk is released). Other spiders that might appear are the very active jumping spiders (Family Salticidae) with their large front-facing eyes. Also the crab spiders (Family Thomisidae) with legs arranged in a crab-like pose.
Some spiders also fly or “balloon” as a form of travel. Although a crash landing from these weird flights are unlikely to be the reason they ended up in our bowls, it is still cool to see.
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. 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?
And that is all I have for you this week. May the weather cooperate for your sampling and may you stay safe.