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A very buzz-y Monday

After a rowdy weekend of off-road races at Andes, I started off the week by gathering data for my independent project for the first time. In the morning I headed out with Jennifer to Loeffler’s Corner East and West to catch bees as they pollinated the flowering Echinacea heads. We noted any flowering plants of other species as well and collected samples of their pollen.

After catching four bees from each site and chilling them in the fridge, I got to work scraping the pollen off each bees’ legs and stomachs. Once I was satisfied with the scraping and had deposited the pollen in its respective receptacle, I toted the bees back to where I found them and released them. It was bittersweet to say goodbye, but they’re probably happier buzzing amongst the Echinacea than with me in the basement of Hjelm.

The pollen I scraped off was then mixed with a dab of fuchsin jelly melted onto a microscope slide. This made the the tiny pollen grains stand out more under the scope. After each pollen sample was accounted for I began to do the same with pollen collected from the flowers in the field, as this will one day comprise my pollen reference library. Can’t wait to go out and catch more tomorrow!

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