May 2 – Bee Updates + Pseudoscorpion Bycatch!

Last week we finished sorting 4 kits:  G. Piper (Coshocton County), P. Lowe (Morgan County), C. Kimmel (Gallia County), J. Bugner (Seneca County), and started the kit by D. Heistand (Darke County). We are over 24,673 bees pinned and databased!

We have been slowly and steadily pinning more bees. Once we get students in working full time and volunteers, perhaps we will see a sharp increase in our pinning rate?

We also interviewed several potential new student workers, so we should be hiring a few to work in the lab soon. Our current student workers have been busy with finals and other obligations, so they have not been in as much. But in a few weeks our lab should be really bustling (and everyone will be fully vaccinated!)

Another update is that our lab will be moving to a new building soon and we got to check out the new facility! There is still a decent amount of construction to be done, but we should be in the new space by the end of June.

They still need to fix the lighting and ceiling, but this will be our new lab space! It is on the 3rd floor and we get 3 large windows overlooking campus.

I also dropped off a batch of bycatch insects to the Triplehorn Insect Collection where hopefully other researchers will use them to learn about the wasps, ants, and other weird bugs. I also dropped off the spiders, so lots of fun things being shared with researchers.


Bycatch of the week:

There were several fun non-bee finds this week!

We got our first Pseudoscorpion!!! Now before you freak out, if you have never heard of these before, it is important to know that Pseudoscoprions are small. Very small. See next image and description. This specimen was in the kit by J. Bugner from Seneca County, but we expect Pseudoscorpions across all of Ohio.

Pseudoscorpion with rice for scale. Despite looking like a real scorpion, Pseudoscorpions are tiny in comparison and lack the typical scorpion tail. They are so small they are essentially harmless to humans. These are known to hitch rides on beetles and flies, so the pseudoscorpion likely just picked the wrong fly to ride. There is even an iNaturalist project for Pseudoscorpions hitching rides. See: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&project_id=phoretic-pseudoscorpions&verifiable=any

We also got our first Bristle Millipede! Though our specimen is in a bit rough shape, it is cool to see that we got one. This was also collected by J. Bugner in Seneca County. They typically live in leaf litter and are decomposers. Learn more about Ohio’s Millipedes in the free ODNR guide to millipedes here: https://ohiodnr.gov/static/documents/wildlife/backyard-wildlife/Millipedes+of+Ohio+Pub+5527.pdf

We also had a pink grass fly from Heistand’s kit. This is the first record of this genus in Ohio on iNaturalist, so that is cool. The genus has been reported from Ohio historically, but it seems like there are not a lot of recent records.

This beetle was found by P. Lowe in Morgan County. At half the size of a grain of rice (on right), it isn’t much to look at. However, it does have a cool life history! Most beetles in the family Buprestidae bore into wood (hence the common name wood boring beetle). But this beetle is instead a leafminer in sedges. See example leaf mine here: https://bugguide.net/node/view/1668703/bgimage

 


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. I know everyone wants to go out and enjoy the nice weather now, so any help is greatly appreciated.

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 been vaccinated against covid, 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/

All for now,

MaLisa

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