I was talking with Rick Donovall from
Penn State about drying bees after washing. He mentioned that he
didn't usually use the heat when he blow dried them. About a month
later, it was late at night and I was brushing my teeth when I realized....compressed
air! Why not use compressed air to dry bees. I phoned the office
(after I finished brushing) and left myself a message. The past 2
days I have been exploring the use of compressed air and I think we have
found the IDEAL drying technique (ok, maybe not quite ideal if you don't
have any compressed air available).
So, try this out:
1. Wash bees in a mason jar bee
washer in the usual manner
2. Flick out all the free water
(3. I initially then put in some
95% alcohol thinking that it would speed the drying but later realized
that it didn't significantly help)
4. Turn on the compressed air in your
lab (or compressor at home) to full and blast out any moisture or crud
that might be in the line (you can see the moisture cloud the air stream
at the exit of the nozzle when present)
5. Hold the mason jar (with screen
on top) about 2 feet away and let the air blow off most of the free water.
6. Once the bees start to move
around in the jar, cut the pressure down and move the jar right up to the
7. Direct the air stream to the
side of the jar and let it swirl the specimens around in a vortex (if the
pressure is too high or they are bouncing violently around you can rip
some abdomens off)
8. Small specimens with short
hair take less than 1 minute
9. Bumblebees take about 2 minutes
to have all the hair on their thorax fluff up
Very sweet. No loss of legs or
antennae at all and such beautiful hair.
Sam Droege Sam_Droege@...
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
The world turns softly
Not to spill its lakes and rivers.
The water is held in its arms
And the sky is held in the water.
What is water,
That pours silver,
And can hold the sky?
- Hilda Conkling – 6 years old