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catching bees on cactus

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  • Elizabeth Elle
    Hello all, we re assessing bee diversity in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia--where Canada s one and only cactus (Opuntia fragilis) is an important
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 4, 2010
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      Hello all,
      we're assessing bee diversity in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia--where Canada's one and only cactus (Opuntia fragilis) is an important component of the vegetation.  We expect there will be some great bees visiting this plant--but I'm not sure I want to put my net anywhere near it!  we've already had some bad encounters when netting off of nearby plants (the species name refers to the tendency of the pads of the cactus to break off at the slightest provocation--and they seem to jump into our nets).  Any advice?  I'm thinking some sort of aspirator might work, or we need to just get creative using our kill tubes to catch the bees directly....but advice from someone who has netted on cacti would be much appreciated!
      many thanks
      Elizabeth

      --
      Dr. Elizabeth Elle
      Associate Professor
      Department of Biological Sciences
      8888 University Drive
      Simon Fraser University
      Burnaby BC V5A 1S6 Canada

      778-782-4592
      www.biology.sfu.ca/people/profiles/eelle
    • T'ai Roulston
      Elizabeth: Jars (kill or otherwise) generally work quite well on Opuntia for the bees actually landing in the flowers (you won t get males patrolling flowers
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 4, 2010
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        Elizabeth:

        Jars (kill or otherwise) generally work quite well on Opuntia for the bees actually landing in the flowers (you won't get males patrolling flowers for mates that way, but you might not be as interested in them). An aspirator would be more difficult and probably not have any advantages over a jar. The highly skilled can use a net around Opuntia, but the less highly skilled become very expensive technicians. At least that's been my experience on Opuntia.

        T'ai
        On Apr 4, 2010, at 8:24 PM, Elizabeth Elle wrote:

         

        Hello all,
        we're assessing bee diversity in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia--where Canada's one and only cactus (Opuntia fragilis) is an important component of the vegetation.  We expect there will be some great bees visiting this plant--but I'm not sure I want to put my net anywhere near it!  we've already had some bad encounters when netting off of nearby plants (the species name refers to the tendency of the pads of the cactus to break off at the slightest provocation- -and they seem to jump into our nets).  Any advice?  I'm thinking some sort of aspirator might work, or we need to just get creative using our kill tubes to catch the bees directly.... but advice from someone who has netted on cacti would be much appreciated!
        many thanks
        Elizabeth

        --
        Dr. Elizabeth Elle
        Associate Professor
        Department of Biological Sciences
        8888 U niversity Drive
        Simon Fraser University
        Burnaby BC V5A 1S6 Canada

        778-782-4592
        www.biology. sfu.ca/people/ profiles/ eelle


        T'ai Roulston
        Curator, The State Arboretum of Virginia
        Research Assoc. Prof. Environmental Sciences
        University of Virginia
        400 Blandy Farm Lane
        Boyce, VA 22620
        540 837-1758 ext 276

      • Linda Newstrom
        Hi Elizabeth I have always used jars of various sizes to catch insects while visiting the flowers. Sometimes this means sacrificing the flower but you almost
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 4, 2010
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          Hi Elizabeth

          I have always used jars of various sizes to catch insects while visiting the flowers.

          Sometimes this means sacrificing the flower but you almost always get the insect.

          You have to sneak up on them from below or sideways, not from above and

          with practice it is faster than using a net.

          The sizes I use are anywhere from about 1 cup to 2 cup or more sizes

          Depends on what fits my hands and what suits the flower and inflorescence.

           

          I grew up in the Okanagan and know what you mean about the cactus.

          They are fierce.

           

          Kind regards

          Linda

           

          Linda Newstrom-Lloyd

           

          Phone DD +64 3 321 9853

          Phone Home +64 383 4047

          Mobile 021 385 953

           

          From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of T'ai Roulston
          Sent: Monday, 5 April 2010 1:30 p.m.
          To: Elizabeth Elle
          Cc: Bee United
          Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] catching bees on cactus

           

           

          Elizabeth:

           

          Jars (kill or otherwise) generally work quite well on Opuntia for the bees actually landing in the flowers (you won't get males patrolling flowers for mates that way, but you might not be as interested in them). An aspirator would be more difficult and probably not have any advantages over a jar. The highly skilled can use a net around Opuntia, but the less highly skilled become very expensive technicians. At least that's been my experience on Opuntia.

           

          T'ai

          On Apr 4, 2010, at 8:24 PM, Elizabeth Elle wrote:



           

           

          Hello all,
          we're assessing bee diversity in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia--where Canada's one and only cactus (Opuntia fragilis) is an important component of the vegetation.  We expect there will be some great bees visiting this plant--but I'm not sure I want to put my net anywhere near it!  we've already had some bad encounters when netting off of nearby plants (the species name refers to the tendency of the pads of the cactus to break off at the slightest provocation--and they seem to jump into our nets).  Any advice?  I'm thinking some sort of aspirator might work, or we need to just get creative using our kill tubes to catch the bees directly....but advice from someone who has netted on cacti would be much appreciated!
          many thanks
          Elizabeth

          --
          Dr. Elizabeth Elle
          Associate Professor
          Department of Biological Sciences
          8888 U niversity Drive
          Simon Fraser University
          Burnaby BC V5A 1S6 Canada

          778-782-4592
          www.biology.sfu.ca/people/profiles/eelle

           

           

          T'ai Roulston

          Curator, The State Arboretum of Virginia

          Research Assoc. Prof. Environmental Sciences

          University of Virginia

          400 Blandy Farm Lane

          Boyce, VA 22620

          540 837-1758 ext 276

           



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        • Doug Yanega
          Having done lots of cactus collecting, I ve found two techniques that work well: (1) the test-tube method, using a vial with a diameter just slightly larger
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 5, 2010
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            Having done lots of cactus collecting, I've found two techniques that
            work well:

            (1) the test-tube method, using a vial with a diameter just slightly
            larger than the flower, but you have to be quick, and time it for
            when the bee is distracted (that is, it works mostly for females, but
            not for males).
            (2) the "jedi" method, determining the flight path of bees
            approaching or departing, and intercepting them in clear airspace
            either before or after they land. This keeps the net away from the
            plant, but requires very good reflexes and a lot of patience.

            a variant on this technique which is less reliable is the
            "misdirection" method, where you hold the net off to one side of the
            flower, and use a large object with your free hand to scare the bee
            off the flower in the desired direction - hopefully, right into the
            net. In principle, it's good, but bees don;t always do what you
            expect when you scare them.

            The good thing is that there should be only a very few species
            visiting, and it won't take many specimens to complete the list.

            Peace,
            --

            Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
            Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
            phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
            http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
            "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
            is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
          • Neil Stanley Cobb
            We designed our own pollinator vac (attached pic) for use in a number of habitats, including ones that had cacti and mesquite. We are pretty happy with it,
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 5, 2010
            We designed our own pollinator vac (attached pic) for use in a number of habitats, including ones that had cacti and mesquite. We are pretty happy with it, but you still have to develop a technique. Since we made ours BioQuip came out with something comparable and reasonably priced. I am not suggesting it is better than other methods but it is one alternative.




            Neil S. Cobb, Director
            Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
            Peterson Hall, Bldg 22, Rm 330, Box 6077
            Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ 86011
            http://www.mpcer.nau.edu http://bugs.nau.edu http://www.grail.nau.edu/

            Neil.Cobb@...
            (Home Office) 928-214-6237
            (Mobile Office) 928-607-4075


            -----Original Message-----
            From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega
            Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 11:44 AM
            To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] catching bees on cactus

            Having done lots of cactus collecting, I've found two techniques that
            work well:

            (1) the test-tube method, using a vial with a diameter just slightly
            larger than the flower, but you have to be quick, and time it for
            when the bee is distracted (that is, it works mostly for females, but
            not for males).
            (2) the "jedi" method, determining the flight path of bees
            approaching or departing, and intercepting them in clear airspace
            either before or after they land. This keeps the net away from the
            plant, but requires very good reflexes and a lot of patience.

            a variant on this technique which is less reliable is the
            "misdirection" method, where you hold the net off to one side of the
            flower, and use a large object with your free hand to scare the bee
            off the flower in the desired direction - hopefully, right into the
            net. In principle, it's good, but bees don;t always do what you
            expect when you scare them.

            The good thing is that there should be only a very few species
            visiting, and it won't take many specimens to complete the list.

            Peace,
            --

            Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
            Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
            phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
            http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
            "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
            is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82


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