Sept 13 – Specimen drop off info, collection reminder, and facts of the week

Drop off information:
A few people have reached out about dropping off their boxes. As of right now, I am planning a drop off week on October 12-16th where I will stop at a few designated locations across the state to meet people that day to get their bees. Right now, I have drop off sites planned in the following counties: Hamilton, Licking, Summit, Lucas, Wayne, and Champaign counties.  Once solidified, these details will be emailed directly to participants (not just posted on the blog here), so watch your email!

Early Drop off locations: If you want to turn in your kits before mid-October, consider dropping off your kit to the Akron or Newark locations. Be sure to email or call the location in advance so they know you plan to drop off any specimens and can make sure someone is there to accept them.

  • OSU Newark Campus: Goodell Lab in Adena Hall (contact MaLisa Spring spring.99@osu.edu)
  • The Dawes Arboretum in Newark (contact Livia Raulinaitis lhraulinaitis@dawesarb.org)
  • Akron Biological Field Station (contact Lara Roketenetz ldr11@uakron.edu or Dr. Randy Mitchell rjm2@uakron.edu)

What to drop off:

  • Your sample box with specimens. Please write your name and county on the top and side of the box with sharpie. Please also label any additional boxes or containers if you ran out of space in your initial box.
  • Signed and completed paper form that includes GPS coordinates, type of soap used, specimen archival acknowledgement, and additional contact info for parks. (first page here: https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/2/86606/files/2020/05/Bee-Survey-Instructions-1-1.pdf)
  • All remaining sampling supplies, including any remaining bee bowls/paint strainers/etc.
  • A copy of any permits that you acquired to sample at your site (mostly applies to people sampling at parks and preserves)
  • Optional: If you’re able, please consider making a donation to help with the cost of the pinning and curation supplies. Thanks to all of our successful bee collectors, we are in need of thousands of vials, pins, collection boxes, and other curatorial supplies. For those interested, information on how to donate will be included in the drop off emails.

Freezer boxes:
I’ve had a few people reach out to say their boxes are getting pretty full in their freezer.  If you have the extra freezer space, you can use another box or plastic takeout container to store the overflow. Alternatively, if you happen to be traveling to the Newark or Akron area, you can organize to drop off part (or all) of your kit. Please email MaLisa if you plan to drop off anything before October.

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, weather permitting. Please wait at least 7 days from your last sample date. If you want to wait to sample once every two weeks now, that is fine as well! You do not have to stick to the weekly sampling regimen.


Bee facts of the week: 

I’ve reached the point in the year where I have already covered so many groups that it is hard to remember which ones I have covered and which ones are left. For those wishing to review, click on the following links to go back to previous posts for bee facts of various groups: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Carder Bees (Anthidium spp), Mining bees (Andrena spp), Leafcutter bees (Megachile spp), Hibiscus Turret bees (Ptilothrix bombiformis), Bumblebees (Bombus spp), Parasitic bees in the genus Triepeolus, Longhorned bees (Melissodes spp), Masked Bees (Hylaeus spp), Digger bees (Anthophora spp), Oil Collecting bees (Melittidae), Dull green sweat bees (Dialictus spp), dark mining bees (Calliopsis spp), Striped Sweat Bees (Agapostemon spp), Mason Bees (Osmia spp), and Small carpenter bees (Ceratina spp).  

So that is 17 different groups of bees that I have covered. I will take a short break in covering the bees this week and will hopefully resume next week with another group.  Otherwise, feel free to check out more bee taxa in our Bees of Ohio field guide.


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!

Any ideas what bycatch I will cover this week?

This week I will cover parasitic wasps! In this case, the micro-hymenoptera, meaning the super tiny wasps that are mostly smaller than a fleck of black pepper. So all those tiny things indicated with the black arrows are parasitic wasps. The only bee in the bowl is circled in red. There are also some longlegged flies and other flies in the bowl as well.

Don’t believe me that those tiny specks are actually wasps? Well, take a closer look with this magnified view! Note the constricted waist, long antennae, and two pairs of wings. Though the second pair of wings can be really hard to see or very reduced, so that isn’t always the best character to go by. And again, remember how small we are talking here, as most of these wasps would be naught but a speck of black to the naked eye.

To get another sense of scale, consider the following parasitic wasp which is rather large for one of the micro-hymenoptera.

This wasp somehow got stuck on one of my datasheets, so I decided to write next to it indicating a wasp was here ( <– waspy). Disregard my abysmal penmanship, but you get the idea for size.

  • Now that I have at least attempted to give a sense of scale for just how tiny these are, let’s get into some biology for these beasts. To broadly explain it, they are all parasites or parasitoids of other organisms. They also tend to be super specialists, often targeting only a small group of insects (like aphids or certain species of aphids), or targeting only eggs of certain insects (like the egg parasitoid of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug). For a broader introduction to the world of micro-hymenoptera, see: http://chrisraper.org.uk/blog/?page_id=98and https://bugguide.net/node/view/12325

This wasp specializes on aphids and bends forward to inject eggs into living aphids. The larvae develop inside the aphids before “mummifying” them.

  • There are easily several thousand species of parasitic micro-hymenoptera in Ohio, though identification is an extreme challenge. Moreover, many species of micro-hymenoptera such as these are still being described, meaning we do not yet have names for them. In fact, these are the focal organisms of the Johnson Lab at the Triplehorn Insect collection.

The wing venation also tends to be much reduced, sometimes to only the leading edge of the wing.

Also, although a normal sized wasp, I figured I would throw in this other wasp that was collected in a bowl and photographed by Heath White.

Similar to the chicken or the egg debate, Heath asked the question: “Which came first, the wolf spider or the spider wasp?” *inserts laugh track* I do not have a good answer for that question, so I will let you all ruminate on the potential answer.

So anyways, for those not familiar, there are a group of wasps that specialize on spiders. Specifically, they inject the spiders with a paralytic to paralyze them and then drag them back to their lair. There, the baby wasps take their good ole time slowly eating the provisioned spiders. I’ve only photographed one spider wasp, which was so intent on dragging its jumping spider prey home, that it did not hesitate to drag the spider over my waiting hand. I’m just glad there are not human sized versions of these wasps.


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.  This is just so you can start to recognize some of the bees and get an idea of how many bees you actually have.

How many bees do you see? Do you recognize any?

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Okay, did you make your guesses?

Aha! It was another tricky week, but no bees are visible in this photograph! There still could be a bee hiding under the skipper, but no bees are visible at the very least. There are two longlegged flies (greenish thin flies floating at the surface) and a few other types of flies. Otherwise, not much else in this bowl.

And that is all I have for this week!

Best regards,

MaLisa

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