Want to learn about wetland bees? I had an article published in the Ohio Wetland Association Newsletter here: https://www.ohwetlands.org/uploads/5/0/6/9/50693061/fall_2020_newsletter.pdf
We sorted one kit last week, which was collected by S. Nelson in Wood county. I got Eleanor trained to sort out specimens from kits in addition to helping with pinning. As always, lots of fun things to see in the kit.
I was particularly excited to see a Morning Glory Turret Bee (Melitoma taurea), which is now the northernmost record of the species on iNaturalist. This beautiful gray bee likes morning glory flowers, and has an extra long tongue to reach down in there. It also has a cool black pattern on its thorax, which is best shown in a photograph of a different specimen by Laura Hughes here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/56588305
If you are looking for even more bee content, check out the website of Dr. Jamie Strange here: https://u.osu.edu/strange.54/
Covid and Pinning Training:
I am still keeping the pinning training sessions small to reduce the risk of covid. I have not added new slots yet. We are experiencing our highest rate of Covid infections in Ohio so far (5,500 new cases on Saturday), so everything is subject to change. Feel no pressure to still show up if you are worried about spreading or getting covid at the lab. Masks are still required regardless.
The only people I am around are those who come to the lab and those I encounter while grocery shopping (my partner now works from home, so he is not encountering anyone). So fingers crossed I don’t come down with it either. I have signed up for OSU’s weekly asymptomatic testing, but there is normally a few days delay between the test and results. As an OSU employee, I am also required to take my temperature each morning before I go on campus, so if I do get sick, I will hopefully notice sooner.
If it comes to a point where I think our risks in the lab have increased significantly, I may end up cancelling all pinning training sessions. I have already acknowledged that our specimen processing is going to take significantly longer than we originally anticipated, so we might not finish pinning specimens till late next year, not even counting the identification side of things. So pre-emptive thank you for your patience as we try to slowly and safely get through the results.
That is all I have for this week since it was a short week for us in the lab.