March 15 – Updates and Specialist Bee Project Announcement

Weekly progress:

Last week we started sorting a kit by D. Winstel in Delaware County. We are over 15,500 bees pinned and databased. We did not identify any additional bees last week as I was working on some paperwork and the specialist guide most of the week. That also means I do not have any bycatch information to share at this time.

We are at least consistent with our rate of specimen pinning. It will be interesting to see if we can get the numbers to go up dramatically once volunteers start coming back into the lab. We only started tracking the number of bees pinned per week around the beginning of December, which is after we stopped having volunteers.


Specialist bee project:

I have also been working on clarifying methods for the upcoming field season. Instead of setting even more bowl traps, our goal for this summer is to target plants known to host specialists bees. So if you would like to participate in a more hands on project of hand collecting bees, see our project here: https://u.osu.edu/beesurvey/native-bee-survey-via-specimen-collections/120-2/

This also will coincide with our specialist bee guide that we are hard at work on finalizing. The guide will be organized by plant host so that you can hopefully learn to recognize the plant to then be able to monitor for potential specialist bees.

One such specialist bee is the Hibiscus Turret bee (Ptilothrix bombiformis). This is a species that is relatively easy to ID from a photo, but most specialists are not so easy to identify in comparison.


Helping in the lab in the age of Covid:

The lab is open to people interested in helping pin or sort specimens on a very limited basis. For now, the following caveats must be reached: 1) if you have managed to get a covid vaccine, or 2) you have already gotten covid and recovered. If you fit one of these exceptions and want to come to the lab to help out, please sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090F4BAEAC2EA6F58-beepinning

Note we are still required to have masks on while on OSU property. We are still limiting our rooms to a maximum of 3 people, but we have additional classrooms down the hall to expand our capacity if more people want to volunteer at once.

Want to see how to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Ohio or see if you qualify yet? See the vaccine distribution website here: https://vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov/

Note that people who are 50 and above are now eligible for the vaccine in Ohio! For those of us under 50 and do not have a qualifying medical condition, we still have a few more weeks to wait.

All for now,

MaLisa

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