A Week at The Chicago Botanic Garden

Today will mark the completion of my first work week here at the garden so I just wanted to summarize some of the tasks I’ve been doing for the past five days. The start of the week was dark and gloomy, like any typical Monday, but it was accompanied with a downpour that left me soaked when walking to the Plant Science Center from the train station. Because  of the weather I wasn’t able to go out and collect any solitary bees to use in the emergence traps for Kristen’s experiment. Instead I cleaned a few Echinacea heads, identified foreign pollen and continued to develop my skill for identifying the different bees native in Minnesota. Tuesday was a little better. I wasn’t completely soaked, but it was still cold on the walk in that morning. Once again I wasn’t able to go out and collect any bees. However, I was able to identify a large portion of the pollen slides. Also, I found my own method of cleaning Echinacea heads. I use a smaller pair of tweezers to pluck out the achenes and use the larger pair to brush out any that I may have missed. It’s not the fastest way of cleaning, but I think it’s pretty effective.

Wednesday it was finally warm enough to go out and collect solitary bees. My first day out catching solitary bees didn’t go so well because I didn’t catch any. I did catch a few hoover flies and honey bees and recorded their behaviors in the emergence traps. Before leaving that day, Tracie, Kristen and I set up an emergence trap in the prairie area to see if we would catch anything. The next day when I checked the trap we had a few specimen in the trap. They weren’t bees, but now we know that the traps work! Later that day I was able to collect some solitary bees and record their behavior. Today I was able to catch more solitary bees and record their behavior. This time around I decided to film their behavior in the emergence traps using my phone which I will continue to do. I was able to take a video of a Ceratina that I collected, but because the video size is too large I can’t upload it here. However, I was able to upload another recording of an unidentified solitary bee in the emergence trap. I wasn’t able to put the bee into a vial and identify it back in the lab once it crawled from under the trap, but hopefully I’ll catch another one and identify it next week!





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