Last week we sorted a single kit: N. Sullivan (Athens County). We are over 12,700 bees pinned, with the last two sorted kits still waiting to be washed, dried, and pinned. We have also identified over 3,380 bees to at least genus. I spent a lot more time identifying this last week, hence the jump from 2,100 identified bees to 3,380. I need to clear out some more space, so I will be spending more time identifying for the next few weeks, assuming we do not get snowed out.
I also forgot to tell you, but the prior week, I finally delivered flies to our fly person and spiders to our spider person. So that cleared up a little more space in our freezer and got specimens off to other experts.
Example pie chart of the bee abundance by family at one sample site (Cedar Bog in this case)
Note that Cedar Bog is still technically an anomaly in our samples so far, with the highest number of bees collected (n=1,538). The second highest number of bees collected at a site was at Glacier Ridge Metro Park (n=951), followed by Camp Oty’okwa (n=900), Homestead Metro Park (n=703), and Crane Hollow Preserve (n=682). However, comparing straight abundances does not mean that bees are actually more abundant at Cedar Bog vs the other sites. This is because we are just looking at total numbers of bees and not correcting for sampling effort. Some people ran into more issues with the weather or other factors, and thus did not set their traps as often (which is perfectly fine!). Or some sites had cups overturned more often, so they “lost” some of their sampling effort. I only ended up setting my own traps once every two weeks, but I know I had many bees per bowl. So if we are interested in comparing abundances per site, the best way to do so is by comparing the number of bees collected per bowl.
We do expect some variation in abundances of different groups by site. This is the data for the SHARP site, which had no small carpenter bees, which meant way fewer bees in the Apidae family. The site also had a ton of the small black mining bee, Calliopsis andreniformis, which is in the family Andrenidae.
A lot of the bees so far have been more or less what I expect to find. Plenty of small carpenter bees (Ceratina spp), two spotted longhorn bees (Melissodes bimaculatus), small black mining bees (Calliopsis andreniformis), dull green sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp), and bright green bees (mostly Augochlorella aurata). Out of the 3,300+ bees identified so far, only 36 have been European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera).
A male small dark mining bee (Calliopsis andreniformis) resting on the ground midday in Cleveland. This is only the second individual I have seen alive. The males of this species have completely yellow legs and mostly yellow faces. They also have striking yellow eyes when they are still alive. Eye color changes drastically once a bee dies, so take eye color in pinned specimen photos with a grain of salt.
Female small black mining bees have completely black legs and unique yellow markings on their face, but are otherwise similar in structure and size to the males. This is a pinned specimen, so their eyes would not be this color/pattern while alive.
The sheer abundance of the small black mining bees is still throwing me for a loop since most kits seen to have a lot of them, yet I so rarely see them alive when I am out looking at flowers. Even my own site had tons of them in my traps, yet I have never seen one out flying at that location. It could be that the Calliopsis are foraging for resources earlier or later than when I am out looking for bees. Or perhaps they are only foraging for resources really close to the ground, where I am less likely to see them. I am not quite sure, but I plan to look harder for them this summer.
Bonus chin-beard image. His wings may be in tatters, but at least his facial hair is still intact.
Bycatch of the week:
I didn’t photograph much bycatch last week since I spent most of the time identifying. However, if you missed the Valentines day themed bycatch from last week, you can check it out here: https://u.osu.edu/beesurvey/2021/02/08/feb-8th-cold-weather-but-still-plenty-of-bees/
Name that organism:
Here is a challenge for you, who can guess this organism based on the super close up macro shot? I bet you will be surprised with the answer.
What am I?
Papers of the week:
Bumble bee species distributions and habitat associations in the Midwestern USA, a region of declining diversity by Novotony et al. 2021.
Have you wanted to read about the results of the Ohio Bumblebee Survey? They are published in an open access article, so read away! They visually documented over 23,000 bumblebees across 10 species throughout Ohio. These 10 species of bumblebees were documented visiting over 170 species of plants! The most common bumblebees observed were the Common Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens), Brown Belted Bumblebee (Bombus griseocollis), and Two Spotted Bumblebee (Bombus bimaculatus). This also lines up with what is reported on iNaturalist for Ohio. They also found that sites that were recently planted with flowers had more bumblebees visiting, so keep on planting flowers. The paper also looked at various factors that impacted the species abundances. Three species (B. fervidus, B. vagans, and B. perplexus) were more likely to be found in forested habitat. B. perplexus was also affiliated with urban wildflower patches. We still have not re-documented the now federally endangered Rusty Patched Bumblebee (B. affinis), which was last seen in Ohio in 2013.
Read the full article and details here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-021-02121-x
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 both doses of a covid vaccine, or 2) you have already gotten covid, recovered, and can show both + then – covid tests. If you fit one of these exceptions and want to come to the lab to help out, please send an email to MaLisa at email@example.com
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/
Saturday, February 27th, 9am – 3 pm: Ohio Natural History Conference (online and free!): Theme: Biodiversity & Technology: The Future of Natural History. Topics covered include telemetry, drones, and motion sensor cameras to document wildlife.
Register here: http://www.ohiobiologicalsurvey.org/
Friday, March 5th, 10 am – 12 pm: 2021 Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference (online and free!):
Birds, millipedes, and snails! The talk lineup sounds like an eclectic mix of fun presentations and they are revealing two new ODNR booklets! Register here: https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/home/additional-resources/division-of-wildlife/2021-ohio-wildlife-diversity-conference-registration
That is all for now,