Sept 28 – Specimen drop off info and facts of the week

Drop off information:
Thank you to everyone who has completed the drop off survey! About half of the participants have filled it out, so if you haven’t yet, please double check your emails from last week and fill out the survey (even if you already turned in your kit!)

If you can’t make it to one of the drop off days in the email, I should have reached out to you with an attempt to connect you with neighboring county collectors if you have completed the survey. I will be going back through the list again shortly to send out reminder emails to those who haven’t completed it.

Early or Late 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
  • The Dawes Arboretum in Newark (contact Livia Raulinaitis
  • Akron Biological Field Station (contact Lara Roketenetz or Dr. Randy Mitchell – only an early drop off location.

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:
  • 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 (applies to people sampling at parks and preserves)
  • Optional: If you are 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. A donation of $5 buys a pack of pins, and $70 buys an insect drawer for long term specimen storage, so every little bit helps! Anyone can donate to the project here:   Thanks to those who have already donated!

See last weeks post to see how we plan to process the specimens:

Other frequently asked questions:

Will I get a report for my results?
Yes! Everyone who participated will get a list of species that was collected at their site. For people collecting at parks and other locations, I will also send the report to that agency as well.

Are you still going to do pinning training?
I am still working out the logistics for one on one pinning training for people who can make it to Newark. These will have to be scheduled in advance, but once I have the details down, I will try to make them available here or via direct email. I am still trying to make sure we get all of the collection dates input into the database so we can have large batches of labels available first.

Will you do a zoom meeting to show us the sorting and pinning process?
I am still working out our microscope camera situation, but I would like to make it so that people can watch specimen sorting and identification. Still working on the logistics for that (and I am not sure if the scope also has a mic and how that interfaces with the computer, so tbd). Don’t worry, I will let you know once I get things up and running 🙂

Bee facts of the week: 

As I mentioned previously, I have already covered many of the common groups of bees in Ohio. Since we have covered most of the easy, common things, that means I have no choice but to show you some uncommon bees that are likely overlooked or generally uncommon.

Which brings us to the Panurgine bees (Family Andrenidae, Subfamily Panurginae). Technically, we already covered one group of Panurgine bees: the genus Calliopsis.  Right now, there are two genera of Panurgines that we might expect to see: Pseudopanurgus and Perdita (though Perdita are sometimes referred to as Fairy Bees). Both are rather small, black bees, similar in size to the yellow faced bees (Genus Hylaeus), though the yellow faces bees tend to be thinner overall and will never have hairy legs or abdomens. You might also confuse them for really small dull green sweat bees, but the Panurgine bees should not have any metallic reflections, and lack a curved basal vein (which would be extra hard to see from a photo).

A female Pseudopanurgus photographed by Amy Schnebelin. Note the hairy legs and abdomen to differentiate from Hylaeus.

I have only photographed one Pseudopanurgus in Ohio and it was after I had collected it. Both Amy Schnebelin and Bill Stitt have photographed at least 5 individuals foraging on flowers. Meanwhile, Amy is the only one to have submitted photographs of living Perdita to iNaturalist for Ohio. If you look at her photos, you can see just how small the Perdita bees are as they are barely larger than the individual goldenrod flowers! Given how small these bees are, we might be overlooking them when photographing them, but it is likely they are generally uncommon. However, hopefully one or two of them get in our pan traps so we can identify them to species.

What’s that bycatch?

This cup is unusual, as it is the highest number of butterflies I have caught in a week, and they somehow all decided to go into the same bowl. They are all Crescents (genus Phycoides) of some sort.

The Monarch caterpillars need some sort of milkweed plant to grow, though the adult Monarch will use nectar from a variety of flowers.

You might also occasionally find butterflies foraging on things you wouldn’t expect, like mud puddles, scat, sweaty humans, or even dead things like this turtle. I’ve had a few Hackberry Emperors land on me and start trying to feed, which is probably an indication that I needed both to drink more water, but was also due for a shower. They forage on these somewhat odd places to get minerals and other nutrients not easily found in their otherwise plant based diet.

  • The easiest way to differentiate butterflies from moths is based on their wing positioning (wings often held up over the back) and the antennae that are clubbed at the ends. The skipper antennae generally come to a point a the end and moth antennae generally do not have a club of any sort.

This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was one of several that was “puddling” at this muddy spot.

  • As people have asked me a few times, I am trying to make sure that as much of the bycatch as possible goes to good use. This survey is unprecedented in Ohio not just for the bees, but also the bycatch. I’ve already made efforts to make sure the other groups of bycatch have someone willing to look through them, and the Lepidoptera are no exception. I made sure that we acquired some cellophane envelopes for the Lepidoptera bycatch, which we can then store in index card boxes. Similar to Odonata, the most space efficient long term storage method for leps is actually in special clear envelopes, so that is what we will be doing as well. Thankfully, most of the butterflies are somewhat easy to identify, or we can utilize the computer vision of iNaturalist or LepSnap to at least get us to a genus level ID pretty quickly. Moths, meanwhile, are much trickier to identify from a photograph, but we will still archive them.

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? Are there any bees in this image at all?





Okay, did you make your guesses?

There are at least 13 bees in this bowl! Most of them look to be in the family Halictidae, with at least 2 bright green sweat bees. There are also a few flies, leafhoppers, and thrips in the image. This was the cup with the most bees from my last sample effort. Most of my other cups had none or one or two bees. I can tell flight season is almost over for most of the bees.


And that is all I have! Please be sure to check your email and respond to the drop off survey to figure out when/where to drop off your specimens.


Best wishes,


*Edit: Well, I forgot to update the title after I copied it, so likely the automated emails will all go out saying this is for Sept 20th. Oops. I updated the title to reflect the correct date.

Leave a Reply

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