Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bumble Bee ID Links - Pictorial Key to the Bumblebees of Minnesota

I just got this Bumblebee Key for Minnesota by the Minnesota Bumblebee Survey which Heather Holm put up on Facebook in the PollinatorsNativePlants group. It covers most of the species which live in PA. (it is missing Bombus pennsylvanicus and B. terricola. ) and has a few which are not in PA such as B. borealis, B. rufocinctus and B. huntii)

Here is the Key to the Pictorial to Female Bumblebees of Minnesota (here is the direct link to get the pdf of for rev. 1 of the pictorial key to Female Bumblebees of Minnesota.)

Here is the Key to the Pictorial to Male Bumblebees of Minnesota (here is the direct link to get the pdf of for rev. 1 of the Key to Male Bumblebees of Minnesota.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Picking up and doing more bees!

I am starting a project to collect and ID as many bees as possible at Ft. Indiantown Gap in Lebanon and Dauphin Counties in Central Pennsylvania.
Looking at Some specimens collected a few weeks ago when it was last warm (March 24th!) I am wrestling with Ceratina sp. using the keys at Here is the Bee genera key. When you get to a genus, then click on its name and you will get the keys available to take the ID to species. 

Unfortunately unlike birds, in order to identify almost all kinds of bees to species, you have to get them under a microscope. and have them hold still So you have to kill some of them to learn about them. For good specimens of fuzzy insects like bees you have to have them neat so you can see the relevant characters for identification, I have been blow drying my bumble bee specimens for a few years now as explained in this presentation by Sam Droege at the USGS Bee Lab, although I use my hairdryer for now. I think I may will start gluing bees to pins instead of piercing them per this Viideo.
I need lots of practice, but expect to have fun! Thanks Mark.