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2964Re: [beemonitoring] bumble bee nest excavation

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  • Jack Neff
    Oct 16, 2013
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      All kinds of materials have been used to make casts of bee nests (plaster of paris, molten metal, plastics et cet) but these are not likely to be very useful for something like a bumble bee nest where one is interested in the arrangement of the cells and honeypots within a larger cavity.  A standard non-destructive technique for excavating burrows of ground nesting bees is to blow in fine dust (talcum powder, colored chalk dust or the like) so one can follow the main burrow, taking care on the way in not to destroy any auxillary structures.  You'll probably have to poison the colony as the bees are not likely to be pleased by your destruction of their nest but once you get to the main chamber you should be able to remove it in one big piece (if you dig a big enough hole around it).  Hard or rocky soil could make this a problem.

      best

      Jack
       
      John L. Neff
      Central Texas Melittological Institute
      7307 Running Rope
      Austin,TX 78731 USA
      512-345-7219


      On Wednesday, October 16, 2013 10:50 AM, Elaine Evans <fuzzybumblebee@...> wrote:
       
      I've done some straight up digging up of bumble bee nests in hard soil with deep narrow entrance tunnels that were easy to lose track of while digging. It didn't work well.
      So my helpful suggestion is to find nests in soil that isn't totally compacted and with entrance tunnels that are less than 1m.
      Have fun.

      -Elaine

      Elaine Evans
      PhD Candidate, Dept of Entomology
      University of Minnesota
      219 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave
      Saint Paul MN 55108
      612-625-5764 evan0155@...
      www.befriendingbumblebees.com



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