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Latest Bee Drying Advice and Protocol from BIML

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  • Sam Droege
    All: Below is a quick how-to dry bees that we are now sending out to groups who are doing bee surveys and do not have an auto-bee-dryer. We now use this
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010
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      All:

      Below is a quick how-to dry bees that we are now sending out to groups who are doing bee surveys and do not have an auto-bee-dryer.  We now use this method in the lab but the last step is usually done with the autobeedryer.  

      Two someone new things are present (compared to our past advice).

      1.  By leaps and bounds you get magnificent looking bees if you wash and dry them within 24 hours.  After that the alcohol/water/glycol the specimens are sitting in seep into the hairs and the specimen never becomes as nice looking as those in for only a short time.

      2.  We have found that the step of blotting off excess alcohol/water pays large dividends both in time spend drying and the ultimate look of the bee.

      I will attach a WORD file to another document for those who would like such....but the basic information is below.

      sam

      How-to Videos for washing bees:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2y-ind12Cc

      The Bee Monitoring YouTube Station is:
      http://www.youtube.com/user/swdroege


      Goal:  Bees that are clean (no dirt, pollen, or nectar), have nice upright hair, and have wings that are spread away from the body.

      The Best Looking Bees:  Are ALWAYS better looking if you process any bee that has been in a bowl trap or collected into soapy water within 24 hours.  After that point the hair and wings will never recover 100% to their natural state.

      1.        Dump the specimens out of the bag or container into a fine mesh strainer or brine shrimp net.
      2.        Run warm to hot water over the specimens.
      3.        Place specimens from the net into a jar or container.
      4.        Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid.
      5.        Fill half way with hot or warm water.
      6.        Shake somewhat vigorously (bees are very sturdy when fresh) for ONE FULL MINUTE.
      7.        Pour back into the strainer and rinse with warm/hot water until no soap suds are present.
      8.        Bounce the bottom of the strainer on a surface to get rid of as much water as possible, wipe the bottom with your hand.
      9.        Dip the strainer into alcohol (the higher the concentration the better) to replace the water with alcohol for faster drying.
      10.        Bounce the bottom of the strainer again to get rid of as much alcohol as possible
      11.        Dump the specimens onto a small pile (4-6 sheets) of paper towels (they can be re-used many times).
      12.        Fold the towels over the specimens and blot off as much alcohol as you can, move the specimens around on the towels.
      13.        Dump the specimens into a canning jar that has been modified.  [To modify replace the lid of the canning jar with window screen (make sure there are no holes around the edge).]
      14.        Screw the screen top onto the jar.
      15.        Take a hair dryer (or compressed air, or air from a reversed shop vac or other blower) and blow air into the jar and let the specimens swirl around for about 1-3 minutes until dry.  It is best to hold the jar on its side.

      sam

                                                     
      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      To Sisyphus

      I vowed to write upon water,
      I vowed to bear with Sisyphus
      his speechless rock.
      I vowed to stay with Sisyphus
      suffering the fevers and the sparks,
      and seeking in blind eyes
      a last plume
      that writes for autumn and grass
      the poem of dust.
      I vowed to live with Sisyphus.


           - Ali Ahmad Said, ("Adonis")


      P Bees are not optional.
    • Zak Gezon
      Hello everyone, As a quick add-on to what Sam was saying, I like to place the drying jar on its side in the top drawer of my desk and tape the hairdryer to the
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010
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        Hello everyone,

        As a quick add-on to what Sam was saying, I like to place the drying jar on its side in the top drawer of my desk and tape the hairdryer to the surface of my desk (at the correct angle) to do the drying for me.  It's not as fancy as an auto-dryer, but it frees up my hands to wash other bees while drying and it encourages me to dry for the full three minutes rather than getting board and stopping early.  If done correctly I can get the bees to swirl around in the jar just as if I were holding it, and makes the process far more efficient.  

        Zak  

        --
        Zak Gezon
        PhD Student
        Biological Sciences Dept.
        Dartmouth College
        54 N. College St.
        Hanover, NH  03755
      • Zarrillo, Tracy
        Hi everyone, I have been playing around with putting paper toweling scrunched up into little balls inside the jar with bees when drying...much like adding
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010
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          Hi everyone,

           

          I have been playing around with putting paper toweling scrunched up into little balls  inside the jar with bees when drying…much like adding tennis balls to your clothes dryer when trying to fluff up down…the added friction seems to help, especially if it is a sample that does not have a lot of bees in it…

           

          Tracy

           

          From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Zak Gezon
          Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2010 11:48 AM
          To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [beemonitoring] Latest Bee Drying Advice and Protocol from BIML

           

           

          Hello everyone,

           

          As a quick add-on to what Sam was saying, I like to place the drying jar on its side in the top drawer of my desk and tape the hairdryer to the surface of my desk (at the correct angle) to do the drying for me.  It's not as fancy as an auto-dryer, but it frees up my hands to wash other bees while drying and it encourages me to dry for the full three minutes rather than getting board and stopping early.  If done correctly I can get the bees to swirl around in the jar just as if I were holding it, and makes the process far more efficient.  

           

          Zak  

          --
          Zak Gezon
          PhD Student
          Biological Sciences Dept.
          Dartmouth College
          54 N. College St.
          Hanover, NH  03755

        • Sam Droege
          Here is the file for those who can download from this email. sam Sam Droege sdroege@usgs.gov w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624 USGS Patuxent
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010


          Here is the file for those who can download from this email.

          sam

                                                         
          Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
          w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
          USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
          BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
          Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov


          Charlie Smith, The Mandolin Player,
          Reveals an Unexpected Streak of Cruelty
          Toward Boxelder Bugs,
          But Takes two of the Three
          Steps Necessary for Attaining
          Full Moral
          Consciousness


          I

          At school we glued up
          their wings and set them on fire.
          God, we were awful!


          II

          No,merely human...
          Awful is much too easy
          a consolation


              - Bill Holm
        • David_r_smith@fws.gov
          Lying the blow dryer on its side on a towell facing the square-sided mason jar, also on a folded towell works pretty good too. If your wife is out of town you
          Message 5 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010
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            Lying the blow dryer on its side on a towell facing the square-sided mason jar, also on a folded towell works pretty good too.  If your wife is out of town you can leave that set on the bathroom counter all week.
          • Nick Stewart
            Hello all, Most recently I ve found that the use of a metal tea steeper (larger ones) work far better than even a jar. I can the spherical steeper w/ bees
            Message 6 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010
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              Hello all,

                  Most recently I've found that the use of a metal tea steeper (larger ones) work far better than even a jar. I can the spherical steeper w/ bees inside w/in a large jar for the washing stage, then when drying, I hold on to the long metal chain, giving me 360 degree access to the specimens inside. In fact, even the largest Bombus or Xylocopa is dry in a couple minutes!

              Nick Stewart
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