May 23 – Progress Update, Spring in Full Swing

Hi everyone!

I’ve been posting less because I have had fewer interesting things to write and because I have been very busy with the Lasioglossum. I doubt you all would enjoy 5 posts in a row saying just how many Lasioglossum versatum and Lasioglossum hitchensi I identified the prior week. Anyways, we continue to make good progress on the bee bowl specimens. We have finished identifying over 35,000 of the 53,000 bees!  Those 35,000 bees represent over 200 different species of bees. We continue to make progress every week.

Visible Progress: 

Since I am mostly working on Lasioglossum right now, I have been slowly making my way through the Lasioglossum tower in the lab.

Our Lasioglossum tower looked like this in mid-April.

As of las week, we have made it through the top two shelves and started on the middle row!

The importance of cleaning bees:

We can often get away with somewhat bedraggled bees, but many of the harder groups need to be rather clean in order to see the microscopic pits and angles. When a specimen is particularly dirty, despite our washing, I have started to use a small paint brush and a drop of ethanol to gently clean them. For some specimens, I am able to use forceps to scrape away just a portion of the gunk, but others really benefit from that drop of ethanol.

Here you can really start to see the pits on the second segment (t2), which are important for differentiating groups of Dialictus. The first image, it was covered in gunk which made it near impossible to see.

The specialist bee survey is meant to monitor particular plants in the hope of finding the bee that specializes on said plant. However, we end up finding a lot of different species of bees using this monitoring method, including the dull green sweat bee on Spring Beauties!

We are still collecting a small number of bees as part of the specialist bee project. We are finding lots of cool things with that project even though we are collecting way fewer bees overall. I’m spending 1-2 days a week in the field as part of the specialist bee project and the graduate students are out most of the days it is not raining.

It is past season for the Spring Beauties and the spring beauty miner (Andrena erigeniae), so if you were hoping to find this species, you will have to wait until next year. Now, the early summer bees are starting to emerge!

There are still plenty of cool early season bees to find, so keep getting out there and watching flowers! See our Guide to Specialist Bees of Ohio for a list of plant species to watch. Or join the targeted sampling project here:

All for now,





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