Bee Team Strikes Back

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This morning, due to a revolutionary development in our marking protocol, the Bee team members caught and marked 6 Halictus rubicundus in a relatively short amount of time. The secret to our success was capturing the bees and cooling them before any painting was attempted, instead of trying to mark them while they worked the Echinacea heads. Tomorrow we will spend a good portion of the morning marking bees in the common garden, and then hopefully be able to train the rest of the crew in, so that we can begin taking data in earnest later in the week. Read on for new and revised protocols...


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Bee Painting Protocol
Needed Equipment:
-lunch box coolers, each with an ice pack and several glass vials
-paint applicator and bandolier
-insect net
-visor, with random number list and bee07 form

1. Walk rows as prescibed by the random number list with a partner, scanning 4rows across for bees on Echinacea heads
2. Catch any bees with the insect net (being careful of flower heads!) and transfer the bees to a chilled vial
3. Keep bees in cooler until sufficiently chilly and slow (approx 3-5 min)
4. Transfer bee from the vial to a flat working surface (plastic bag on top of the ice pack works well) and paint a small dot of the appropriate color on to the middle of the thorax
5. Allow the bee to warm up, and release it in the same vicinity in which it was caught
6. Record all necessary data (including bees species, paint color, plant coordinates etc) in the visor

Tracking Protocol
Needed Equipment:
-binoculars
-color key pallet
-visor, with random number list and bee07 form

We haven't yet tested this protocol, and there will probably be some revision/elaboration before it gets implemented. But this is the current plan:

1. Working in pairs, walk random rows, searching the 4 adjacent rows for bees.
2. When a bee is located, track it for as many consecutive flights as possible (we anticipate that one person should be visually tracking the bee, while the other partner records data in the visor, and assists with tracking when not data taking)

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