Note that dictation software was used in
this message and thus odd word swaps can slip in!
Bowl traps work very well for monitoring
and inventorying bees, but require that you carefully wash and dry the
specimens prior to pinning or you risk the hair and wings becoming matted
and the resulting specimen difficult to identify.
Or do you?
Recently, we discovered that if you
processed specimens within 24 hours to 36 hours following their capture
in bowl traps the hair and wings retained a much more natural look than
if you let the specimens soak in water, propylene glycol, or alcohol for
long periods of time.
Additionally, we have recently begun
to use disposable paper paint strainers as a means to increase our efficiency
at collecting bowl trap samples in the field. After collecting a set of
bowls by dumping them into a paint strainer, we simply fold the paint strainer
up, staple it at the top and usually throw it into a box or a bucket in
the car. We then continue to collect whatever transects we have set out
that day and then in the afternoon or evening we bag everything into a
large plastic bag and put things directly into the freezer without transferring
anything to alcohol.
We realized this past week, however,
that we actually did not need to wash and dry specimens that were handled
in this way. Simply taking them out of the freezer and dumping them into
petri dishes resulted in quite good looking specimens. If you had captured
a lot of skippers in a sample then you can get a bit more dust on the specimens
from scales and if you did not rinse the soap off specimens in the field
then there can be a slight dull sheen to specimens, however this never
was extensive enough to prevent the easy identification of the resulting
It appears that the combination of quick
removal from the water, the paper soaking up any residual water in the
specimens, and the freezing of the specimens rather than storing them in
a liquid results in specimens that have not become soggy and essentially
dry on their own in the freezer. Thus specimens can be pinned directly
from the freezer or stored in petri dishes (after drying completely) for
identification directly out of the petri dishes completely skipping the
washing and drying procedures of the past. This saves a tremendous amount
of time although creates a slightly dirtier specimen than one that was
washed and dried completely. However, on the other hand, their hair looks
better and the wings are less shriveled than specimens coming out long
storage in liquids.
THERE is wind where the rose was,
Cold rain where sweet grass was,
And clouds like sheep
Stream o'er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.
Nought warm where your hand was,
Nought gold where your hair was,
But phantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was.
Cold wind where your voice was,
Tears, tears where my heart was,
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.
Walter De La Mare- November