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Re: [beemonitoring] bee marking

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  • Doug Yanega
    ... Each bee in the population had been captured when returning to her nest, measured, marked, and released. The markings were with enamel model paint, in
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 10, 2009
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      Re: [beemonitoring] bee marking
      Sandra Lary wrote:

      Thank you - intriguing methodology (and practical too). I like the idea of not killing bees. Just wondering how you knew individual bees, and that you were sampling the same bee over the course of a day?

      Each bee in the population had been captured when returning to her nest, measured, marked, and released. The markings were with enamel model paint, in various patterns (dots, bars, and half-loops), using one or two different colors on each bee. It helped that these bees were 8-11 mm long, as opposed to something like Dialictus or Hylaeus, for which the thoracic surface area is absurdly small. Just using one color of paint and a blade of grass, I could make 24 distinct thoracic markings and 7 distinct abdominal markings (meaning 168 combinations); using two colors per bee makes for well over 700 possible combinations, and since the total number of paint colors I had available was five, I had way more than enough to deal with a few hundred bees - in fact, I used different color combinations based on which brood a female was from (founding females, first brood, and second brood), so I only ever used three color pairings in a year. Thorax markings were the most indelible (they could last for 13 months), abdominal markings not quite as much so, but without abdominal markings a bee diving into a nest could not be identified. So, I made sure that within any single nest, each female had a different abdominal mark, even if a few females in *other* nests had that same mark. Regardless, every bee in the population had a unique *combination* of markings, so they could be recognized individually.

      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
    • Doug Yanega
      ... In the six years I did this, and many hundreds of bees, I accidentally got paint on the wing bases about 3 or 4 times, and this made it impossible for the
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 10, 2009
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        Liz Day wrote:

        > > The markings were with enamel model paint,
        >
        >This is safe for them? They don't groom it off? I worry that the
        >solvent will find its way into their body through the crevices in
        >their cuticle as I apply the paint.

        In the six years I did this, and many hundreds of bees, I
        accidentally got paint on the wing bases about 3 or 4 times, and this
        made it impossible for the bee to fly (you would probably laugh at
        how profoundly sad each of those mistakes made me, but they did, and
        I tried hard never to make that mistake again). As soon as I was done
        marking a bee, I would toss her into the air to *prevent* her from
        trying to groom while the paint was still damp. Only with abdominal
        markings did I ever notice problems with them "messing up" the
        markings while the paint was still damp. Yes, I made sure the paint
        was not so thin that it spread on the cuticle when applied, but this
        was more out of concern for the practicality of making markings more
        sophisticated than an amorphous blob. If the paint was too thick or
        too thin, then bars and T's and half-loops were impossible to render!
        It obviously also helped that these bees were not hairy like
        bumblebees!! With a hairy bee, capillary action makes thin paint go
        in places where you never intended, and with thick paint the bee
        cannot resist the impulse to groom the paint out, if it's able.

        Be that as it may, I never saw any evidence that the small amount of
        applied paint would - by virtue of the *toxic* nature of the solvent
        - do any harm to the bees. I have little doubt that every time I
        marked a bee's abdomen, there was solvent getting into the
        intersegmental membrane, but the bees sure as heck never showed any
        sign that this was a problem for them (especially the ones that lived
        for 13 months or so). Those few sad cases of mortality were all ones
        where the paint got into the tegula and axillary sclerites, and
        physically screwed up the flight mechanism.

        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
      • Liz Day
        ... This is safe for them? They don t groom it off? I worry that the solvent will find its way into their body through the crevices in their cuticle as I
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 10, 2009
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          > The markings were with enamel model paint,

          This is safe for them? They don't groom it off? I worry that the
          solvent will find its way into their body through the crevices in
          their cuticle as I apply the paint.

          thanks,
          Liz


          --------------------------------------------
          Liz Day
          Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
          (40 N, 86 W; USDA zone 5b)
          www.kiva.net/~daylight
          -------------------------------------------
        • Jerry_Freilich@nps.gov
          OK all you bee people. I m an aquatic guy but I developed a method that might be useful for marking bees. When I first started working on tagging stonefly
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 10, 2009
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            OK all you bee people. I'm an aquatic guy but I developed a method that
            might be useful for marking bees. When I first started working on tagging
            stonefly nymphs everyone showed me to the standard literature on bee tags
            and little enamel dots. "Fine for the bee people," I said, but I needed
            another method that was better for aquatic animals, that resisted physical
            abrasion (from rocks in the benthos), and that was quicker to apply.

            The method I developed uses tiny pieces of "plastic paper" with 3-4 digit
            numbers appearing on each 2x3 mm tag. I used gel type Super Glue which is
            incredibly fast drying and survived very well (under water!) in durability
            tests. I am sure these tags would be even better, even faster applying, and
            longer lasting on nice clean dry bees.

            Here's the citation: Freilich, J.E. 1989. A method for tagging individual
            benthic insects. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 8 (4):
            351-354.

            I cannot speak for toxicity of cyanoacrylate adhesives, but recall that
            these were developed for holding (human) skin together as a quick way of
            securing combat wounds in battle. My understanding is that the adhesives
            are regarded as biologically neutral.

            I would be very curious to know if this method works on bees and I would be
            willing to offer practical tips and advice to those interested in trying
            it. One tip... for example... is that these tiny tags are very light weight
            and could blow away in the wind while working in the field. I discovered
            that working on a cloth towel is the solution. The tags fall into the loops
            of fabric and will resist even the strongest wind. It's amazing really. Let
            me know if I can tempt anyone to try this.
            __________________________
            Jerry Freilich, Ph.D.
            Research Coordinator, Olympic National Park
            Coordinator, North Coast & Cascades Science Learning Network
            Olympic National Park
            600 E. Park Ave.
            Port Angeles, WA 98362

            Phone: 360-565-3082
            Fax: 360-565-3070
            Cell: 360-477-3338
            Jerry_Freilich@...

            "This is the most beautiful place on earth,
            there are many such places..."
            Edward Abbey
            ___________________________
          • T'ai Roulston
            My own method is similar to Doug s and seems to have little effect on bee mortality. I ve been working with Colletes latitarsis, fairly similar in size to his
            Message 5 of 6 , Nov 10, 2009
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              My own method is similar to Doug's and seems to have little effect on bee mortality. I've been working with Colletes latitarsis, fairly similar in size to his Halictus. I had trouble keeping enamel paints on sweat bees in prior work --the bees were very good at grooming it off, though sometimes they didn't.  What I use now is different colors of liquid paper (yellow, pink, white and either green or blue --not both as they are hard to distinguish). The liquid paper serves as a base color on the thorax then I write patterns with different colors using fine-tipped sharpies. I've had 125 bees marked individually like this without problem, over 3 weeks in the field without degradation.

              This method works great on Colletes but not so well on Peponapis. I don't know why. At first I thought it was because Peponapis is much hairier, but I found that removing the hair on Peponapis first didn't maintain the integrity of the marks for very long. So there may be some species specificity to technique effectiveness.

              I've tried gluing tiny numbers to bees without much success. The Von Frisch tags worked fine for big bees like Apis or bigger ones, but on smaller bees with smaller tags made of paper encased in plastic tape I had trouble keeping from gluing the bee's wings together, or my fingers together, or my fingers to the bee's wings, and even when I was successful it didn't seem to last long.  I'd be interested in a refined gluing method, such as Jerry developed, but the liquid paper method works very well and is quite forgiving.

              T'ai

              On Nov 10, 2009, at 7:47 PM, Jerry_Freilich@... wrote:

               


              OK all you bee people. I'm an aquatic guy but I developed a method that
              might be useful for marking bees. When I first started working on tagging
              stonefly nymphs everyone showed me to the standard literature on bee tags
              and little enamel dots. "Fine for the bee people," I said, but I needed
              another method that was better for aquatic animals, that resisted physical
              abrasion (from rocks in the benthos), and that was quicker to apply.

              The method I developed uses tiny pieces of "plastic paper" with 3-4 digit
              numbers appearing on each 2x3 mm tag. I used gel type Super Glue which is
              incredibly fast drying and survived very well (under water!) in durability
              tests. I am sure these tags would be even better, even faster applying, and
              longer lasting on nice clean dry bees.

              Here's the citation: Freilich, J.E. 1989. A method for tagging individual
              benthic insects. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 8 (4):
              351-354.

              I cannot speak for toxicity of cyanoacrylate adhesives, but recall that
              these were developed for holding (human) skin together as a quick way of
              securing combat wounds in battle. My understanding is that the adhesives
              are regarded as biologically neutral.

              I would be very curious to know if this method works on bees and I would be
              willing to offer practical tips and advice to those interested in trying
              it. One tip... for example... is that these tiny tags are very light weight
              and could blow away in the wind while working in the field. I discovered
              that working on a cloth towel is the solution. The tags fall into the loops
              of fabric and will resist even the strongest wind. It's amazing really. Let
              me know if I can tempt anyone to try this.
              ____________ _________ _____
              Jerry Freilich, Ph.D.
              Research Coordinator, Olympic National Park
              Coordinator, North Coast & Cascades Science Learning Network
              Olympic National Park
              600 E. Park Ave.
              Port Angeles, WA 98362

              Phone: 360-565-3082
              Fax: 360-565-3070
              Cell: 360-477-3338
              Jerry_Freilich@ nps.gov

              "This is the most beautiful place on earth,
              there are many such places..."
              Edward Abbey
              ____________ _________ ______


              T'ai Roulston
              Curator, State Arboretum of Virginia
              Research Assoc. Prof., Dept of Envi. Sci.
              University of Virginia



            • kjard_us
              In the ant world many people have moved to little steel bands tied around the legs. The ants were just too good at cleaning themselves.
              Message 6 of 6 , Nov 11, 2009
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                In the ant world many people have moved to little steel bands tied around the legs. The ants were just too good at cleaning themselves.

                --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, T'ai Roulston <thr8z@...> wrote:
                >
                > My own method is similar to Doug's and seems to have little effect on
                > bee mortality. I've been working with Colletes latitarsis, fairly
                > similar in size to his Halictus. I had trouble keeping enamel paints
                > on sweat bees in prior work --the bees were very good at grooming it
                > off, though sometimes they didn't. What I use now is different colors
                > of liquid paper (yellow, pink, white and either green or blue --not
                > both as they are hard to distinguish). The liquid paper serves as a
                > base color on the thorax then I write patterns with different colors
                > using fine-tipped sharpies. I've had 125 bees marked individually like
                > this without problem, over 3 weeks in the field without degradation.
                >
                > This method works great on Colletes but not so well on Peponapis. I
                > don't know why. At first I thought it was because Peponapis is much
                > hairier, but I found that removing the hair on Peponapis first didn't
                > maintain the integrity of the marks for very long. So there may be
                > some species specificity to technique effectiveness.
                >
                > I've tried gluing tiny numbers to bees without much success. The Von
                > Frisch tags worked fine for big bees like Apis or bigger ones, but on
                > smaller bees with smaller tags made of paper encased in plastic tape I
                > had trouble keeping from gluing the bee's wings together, or my
                > fingers together, or my fingers to the bee's wings, and even when I
                > was successful it didn't seem to last long. I'd be interested in a
                > refined gluing method, such as Jerry developed, but the liquid paper
                > method works very well and is quite forgiving.
                >
                > T'ai
                >
                > On Nov 10, 2009, at 7:47 PM, Jerry_Freilich@... wrote:
                >
                > >
                > > OK all you bee people. I'm an aquatic guy but I developed a method
                > > that
                > > might be useful for marking bees. When I first started working on
                > > tagging
                > > stonefly nymphs everyone showed me to the standard literature on bee
                > > tags
                > > and little enamel dots. "Fine for the bee people," I said, but I
                > > needed
                > > another method that was better for aquatic animals, that resisted
                > > physical
                > > abrasion (from rocks in the benthos), and that was quicker to apply.
                > >
                > > The method I developed uses tiny pieces of "plastic paper" with 3-4
                > > digit
                > > numbers appearing on each 2x3 mm tag. I used gel type Super Glue
                > > which is
                > > incredibly fast drying and survived very well (under water!) in
                > > durability
                > > tests. I am sure these tags would be even better, even faster
                > > applying, and
                > > longer lasting on nice clean dry bees.
                > >
                > > Here's the citation: Freilich, J.E. 1989. A method for tagging
                > > individual
                > > benthic insects. Journal of the North American Benthological Society
                > > 8 (4):
                > > 351-354.
                > >
                > > I cannot speak for toxicity of cyanoacrylate adhesives, but recall
                > > that
                > > these were developed for holding (human) skin together as a quick
                > > way of
                > > securing combat wounds in battle. My understanding is that the
                > > adhesives
                > > are regarded as biologically neutral.
                > >
                > > I would be very curious to know if this method works on bees and I
                > > would be
                > > willing to offer practical tips and advice to those interested in
                > > trying
                > > it. One tip... for example... is that these tiny tags are very light
                > > weight
                > > and could blow away in the wind while working in the field. I
                > > discovered
                > > that working on a cloth towel is the solution. The tags fall into
                > > the loops
                > > of fabric and will resist even the strongest wind. It's amazing
                > > really. Let
                > > me know if I can tempt anyone to try this.
                > > __________________________
                > > Jerry Freilich, Ph.D.
                > > Research Coordinator, Olympic National Park
                > > Coordinator, North Coast & Cascades Science Learning Network
                > > Olympic National Park
                > > 600 E. Park Ave.
                > > Port Angeles, WA 98362
                > >
                > > Phone: 360-565-3082
                > > Fax: 360-565-3070
                > > Cell: 360-477-3338
                > > Jerry_Freilich@...
                > >
                > > "This is the most beautiful place on earth,
                > > there are many such places..."
                > > Edward Abbey
                > > ___________________________
                > >
                > >
                >
                > T'ai Roulston
                > Curator, State Arboretum of Virginia
                > Research Assoc. Prof., Dept of Envi. Sci.
                > University of Virginia
                > tai.roulston@...
                >
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