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842Re: collecting pollen from bees

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  • Laura Burkle
    Nov 12, 2009
      Sam and all,

      I don't have too much more to add that others haven't already
      mentioned. But I will put a plug in for using individual vials to
      collect bees from which you'd like to get pollen from later for network
      analysis, etc. We use small 3.5 dram vials from Thornton Plastics or
      standard 1.7mL microtubes, depending on the size of the bee. One can
      carry a lot of these vials in the field, and you won't risk pollen
      "contamination" between bees like you might in kill jars. We freeze the
      bees in a cooler while we're in the field, and later process the dead
      bees for pollen, rubbing the bee with a fuchsin-gelatin cube or washing
      the bee in ethanol and staining the pollen with the fuchsin dye once the
      ethanol has evaporated from the slide.

      As for marking, we use different colors of Deco paint pens (extra
      fine or fine tip) on the thorax. Paint pen dots seem to last at least
      three weeks. We use a bee-squeezer (film canister or other vial with
      the bottom cut out, mesh covering over the top, and a foam plunger to
      push the bee against the mesh) to position the bee and mark through the

      Best ---


      Postdoctoral Research Associate

      Washington University in St. Louis
      (314) 935-9445
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