Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thank you! And looking ahead...

Thanks to all of our great volunteers who participated in our first collection. Despite the weather changes, it sounds like we had a successful collection. We hope you had some fun - we can't wait to see your specimens! Send those in when you can. As soon as we get some more information about the species we collected, we'll be sure to post those here. Also, please feel free to send in any pictures you took so we can put them up on the blog. We're sure other folks would like to see them!

Here are some thoughts post-collection:

1) RAIN POLICY: From here forward, it is best to abort the sampling mission in the event of rain, if possible. If the bowls have already been set out and the rain comes later in the day, collect whatever is in the bowls and end the sampling. If you wake up to rain on the specified collection day, don't even bother to set the bowls out -- just wait until the next sunny day. We will, of course, try to let everyone know if we're going to cancel the collection due to rain, but we're spread across a fairly wide area and it's entirely possible that it may rain buckets on the south side and not rain a drop on the north side.

2) COLLECTION DAY: We were overly optimistic that we could (and should) have everyone do the collecting on the same day, as is evident in the protocol. If you're unable to perform the sampling on the day that we designate as the "official" collection day, it's perfectly acceptable to do it on the next sunny day, or the NEXT next sunny day. If you do need to stretch a collection day, please be sure to note that on your data card.

3) BEES vs. FLIES: Not all bees are large and colorful like the trademark bumblebees we commonly think of. As such, don't be discouraged if you don't find one of these big, fuzzy creatures in any of your bowls. It's important that you strain and send in ALL the insects that you find in your bowls, even if they don't look like bees. You would be surprised how many bees actually look like flies, and vice versa.

4) HELP LINE: We have not provided a phone number in the event that questions arise that require time sensitive answers, such as the onset of the rain yesterday. We will provide a number (or two) in the future so you can reach us directly, if necessary.

Thanks for participating! Please send in your pictures and stories

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First Collection: TOMORROW, Thursday, July 16th!

Tomorrow's weather is looking fantastic for bee collecting, so we're
going to make tomorrow, Thursday, July 16th our official first
collection day.

The protocol in your collection kit explains that your bee bowls
should be set out from 8am to 8pm on the collection date -- tomorrow,
Thursday, July 16th. The key thing to remember is that we're hoping
to get everyone collecting for one DAYLIGHT CYCLE on the same day.
This means that everyone should set the bowls out before 8am (but
after the previous day's sunset) and pick them up after 8pm (but
before the next day's sunrise).

Bottom line: you can set out the bee bowls anytime between sunset
Wednesday (July 15th) and 8am Thursday (July 16th). Then, pick up the
bowls anytime between 8pm Thursday (July 16th) and sunrise Friday
(July 17th).

As we mentioned yesterday, if you are absolutely unable to perform the
collection tomorrow (July 16th), please try to do it on the next SUNNY
day (bees are not very active on cloudy, rainy days). The weather is
looking good for both Friday and Saturday, so these would be the best
alternative days if tomorrow absolutely does not work. But, if
possible, please perform the collection tomorrow.

Thanks in advance for your hard work tomorrow! We look forward to
receiving our first round of samples.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

1st Collection Date > Th. 7/16 or Fr. 7/17

The bee kits were mailed via USPS Priority Mail on Saturday and should be arriving shortly (if they haven't already). If you have not received the kit by tomorrow, please send an e-mail to to let us know.

The conditions for bee sampling are looking fantastic for the end of this week (sunny and warm!), so we're hoping to have our first collection date this Thursday (7/16) or Friday (7/17). It would be ideal to have everyone perform the collection on the same day, though we do realize that varying weather conditions and other circumstances may make this difficult. If you are unable to do the collection on the scheduled day (say, Thursday), please try to do it on the next sunny day (say, Friday or Saturday). I realize that this is fairly short notice, so please let us know if the end of this week will absolutely not work. We will send out another e-mail to confirm which day will work best as soon as we can.

Again, thanks to all of you for agreeing to participate in this study -- we really appreciate it.