April Updates – Graduate student grant, archiving specimens, and recruiting collectors for specialist bees

Hi everyone!

We are still working on the large report for the 2020 bowl survey, but things are wrapping up nicely there!

A photo of Amber in the field.

Graduate student grants:
Amber applied and was awarded a grant to support her habitat assessment work to go along with the specialist bee survey! Congratulations Amber!






Specimen archival:
A key part of our ethical responsibility as researchers who have collected specimens is to make sure that they are properly archived at a museum and accessible to other researchers. One of the first steps to archival is to have specimens properly pinned and labelled with archival paper. We use special archival paper for the labels that is acid free and slower to break down over time.

A photo of our long awaited unit trays that go inside the USNM drawers.

Once everything is pinned and labelled, we transfer the specimens into sealed drawers that fit into airtight cabinets. We got our USNM drawers many months ago and have been waiting for the trays that go inside the drawers, which arrived last week! The drawers and cabinets help at reducing the chance of dermestid beetles getting in and eating the pinned specimens.

The notorious dermestid beetle larvae and nightmare of many entomologists. These tiny larvae love to eat dead organic material.

The beetle larvae love to munch on pinned specimens and can turn a collection into dust. So far, we have not found any dermestids in our collection, but it is better to prevent them getting in than to deal with the consequences. Many museums have moved away from insecticide treatments for them and instead cycle their entire collection through a freezing regimen to kill any potential dermestid larvae.

Vanessa posing with her robber fly specimens.

So far, we have archived the robber flies that are part of Vanessa Chilcoat’s undergraduate thesis. We made a trip out to the Museum of Biological Diversity where we dropped off the specimens in their drawers. These robber flies were all bycatch, or accidentally caught, as part of the 2020 bowl survey. We still need to drop off the hover fly and bee specimens from the project, though we also will need to pare down the number of specimens archived as the museum does not need 5,000 specimens of the same species. The process of transferring the bees and hover flies from their current boxes and into drawers will take a bit, so if anyone wants to help out in the lab, just let us know!

Specialist Bee Sampling:
We are still recruiting people to help with the specialist bee survey that will be managed by Amber Fredenburg and Dr. Goodell this coming year. We had a zoom training that was recorded so you can watch that to catch up on the methods.

If you would like to sign up to participate in the more targeted specialist bee survey and get emails, please go to this page and fill out that form: https://u.osu.edu/beesurvey/native-bee-survey-via-specimen-collections/120-2/

All for now,


2 thoughts on “April Updates – Graduate student grant, archiving specimens, and recruiting collectors for specialist bees

  1. Hi Miriam,

    We would love your help! Our main task is trimming labels and sorting things into either the drawers or into site-based duplicate boxes to give back to collectors. Just send me an email and we can set up a date!


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