Warning - Arachnid photos below. If you do not like images of spiders, do not scroll to the bottom of this post.
This week has been jam-packed with field and lab work. We began our control trial on the foraging experiment, This did not go as planned, but the supervisor on the project has begun to think of a new experimental design. For this trial, we placed a "familiar feeder" and a "novel feeder." The bees from our colony last week were trained to the familiar feeder. For 3 hours, we set out the novel feeder and put a few drops of peppermint essential oils to help to attract the bees. Unfortunately, the experimental design did not go as planned and the scout bees did not discover the novel feeder. (A scout bee is a stage of a worker honey bee that spending their time searching for nectar and pollen sources.).
I also had the opportunity to work with some native bee samples. We focused on the taxonomy and accurately identifying the native bees to a subgenus or species level.
The bees pictured above are all in the genus Andrenidae, more commonly known as ground-nesting solitary bees. These bees were collected in 2020 from fields in Kentucky. The goal was to identify is the native bee populations declined with or without the use of cover crops. Right now we are spending the next few weeks identifying the species of bees from these samples.
Here is another close-up of one of the bees from the Andrenidae genus. Hopefully next time we will be able to identify the species of bee.
Now for the fun stuff.
Beware there are pictures of spiders and roaches below.
The student we have been working alongside for the taxonomy project, has a wonderful collection of spiders and roaches. She even has the spider, Paraphrynus mexicanus, (no not Aragog).
Here's another couple of fun ones, I apologize I forgot to write down the species names.
We also had some fun playing with the Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
This was a fun week. Next week we will be working on some metabolism assays and qPCR work. Stay tuned!