April 11th – Specialist Bee Guide now available!

Last week we finished sorting 4 kits:  2 kits from H. White (Ashland County),  T. Myshrall (Geauga County),  J. Stachler (Auglaize County), and started sorting the kit by L. Weber (Ashland County). We are over 20,490 bees pinned and databased. We have sorted at least 47 of the kits, but still plenty of kits left to sort. I was working on project logistics for the specialist bee project, so no new progress on identification.

Thanks to the backlog of bees that we finally entered into the database and the additional help of 3 more volunteers this week, we had a noticeable uptick in the number of bees pinned!

Helping in the lab in the age of Covid:

We had three volunteers in our lab this week! We greatly appreciate their help processing specimens.

P. Dutton having fun pinning specimens

E. Robinson also doing a great job gluing bees!

C. Gleditcsh also helped pin last week, but I forgot to take a photo. Oops.

We also got to share a lovely aggregation of polyester bees! There is a large patch of lawn next to the lab that has several hundred bees. The females were watching us from their nests.

Wondering how you can help speed up our process? If you would like to come to the lab in Newark, there are several tasks that people can participate in. We will mostly have people start with pinning bees, but people can also be trained to sort bees from bycatch in samples, label specimens, or other lab tasks.

You do not have to be a collector to help out in the lab. You also do not have to help for the entire timeslot for a particular day, so if you are only interested in helping out for an hour or three, that still works. No one is obligated to spend the whole day pinning bees.

The lab is open to people interested in helping pin or sort specimens on a limited basis. The following caveats must be reached: 1)  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? See the vaccine distribution website here: https://vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov/

Note that all adults now eligible for the covid vaccine in Ohio! 

Bycatch of the week:

H. White had the most yellow jackets of any kit so far. This was a single week from a fall sample. I think that is more than enough yellow jackets.

Is this a mite balloon? No, this is a mite using a beetle to hitch a ride that took an unfortunate detour into Weber’s traps instead. The mite exudes  some sticky glue from it’s anus that allows it to stay on the beetle until it arrives at its preferred location. This mite is now destined for a mite researcher at the Museum of Biological Diversity. Learn more about these weird mites here: https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2013/07/22/show-me-the-way-to-the-next-merocenose-the-anal-pedicel-of-a-phoretic-uropodine/

Mystery larvae:

Without checking iNaturalist, do you have any guesses what this mystery larvae would be? Grain of rice for scale. Both the adults and larvae are considered beneficial insects.

Specialist bee guide:

Finally, if you are looking for more resources, we released our Guide to Specialist Bees of Ohio today! It is a plant focused guide that helps you find the plants that are known to have specialist bees. Check it out here: https://u.osu.edu/beesurvey/files/2021/04/GuidetoSpecialistBeesofOhio_2021.pdf

Feel free to download and have a copy printed at your local print shop. As with the Bees of Ohio Field Guide from last year, it is up to you if you want a physical copy of the guide, which you are able to have printed and bound at most stores (example stores would be Staples, Uniprint, Minutemen Press, Office Depot, etc).

Example pages from the specialist bee guide.


The weather is getting nice again, which means the bees are out and the flowers are popping. I still see many lab days ahead for me as we try to get through our pandemic backlog. I will be out in the field probably once a week sampling for specialist bees, but I expect most of my time will still be devoted to sorting and identifying specimens from last year. 

All for now,


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