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Bee-uty School Dropout

Hello! I am Emily Staufer, one of the Lake Forest College students taking part in the ‘mini-internships’ with CBG! I’m working with Kristen Manion on pinning foraging bees from the Hegg NE site.

I really enjoy working on this project; I spent the past summer in a research lab point-mounting ants, and so working with critters a little larger and involving much less glue is a much-welcomed change of pace. I’ve also always had an interest in conservation ecology, so this project is a perfect fit, and Kristen is helping me figure out how to ask questions of my own about my little section I’m working on in order to have a great presentation for the end of the semester.

When asked about my specific role, I like to think of my corner of the table in the CBG lab as my bee beauty (bee-uty!) salon – it’s my role to make the specimen look as good as possible, and this all boils down to fluffy bees.

At my salon, the wash always comes first, since the bees are all in their ethanol tubes from each collection location. A quick towel dry follows to begin the fluffing process. Under the dissecting scope, they undergo a slightly invasive process when the pin is put in place through the center of their abdomen, but it is followed quickly by a relaxing massage with a pair of forceps as I position their legs and wings. What comes next is the real treat – a nice, warm blowdry using my very professional Pink Hairdryer. No bee is left defluffed, as this is key to the process! After their treatment, each happy customer is added to the larger board next to their foraging friends from the same site. Come visit my salon in the CBG lab, 100% satisfaction rating on Yelp (or it would have one, if bees had access to iPhones).

Some of the bees Emily has been working with these past few weeks.

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