Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Incubate emerging berry bees

Back in April Dr. Jim Cane sent me this image of a incubator for O. aglaia. "Basically a box with a seedling grow mat on the floor and a thermometer. Big box in this case because we are loosely stacking in our foam nesting blocks with nests. No risk of overheating because the low wattage grow mats can’t heat to more than about 80F. I do not yet have a consistent response to duration of incubation…some years just a few days, others nearly a week."

"...one simple yet handy observation you can make are the weather conditions under which you do or do not see foraging activity at nesting blocks (Osmia aglaia) or at flowers (groups you can recognize, like honey bees, bumblebees, etc.). Shade temperature, sunny or not, calm or not, active or not, hour of day.

"My impression with O. aglaia is that 60F, calm and sunny is about their minimum threshold for flight. In contrast, here the other day I had blue orchard bees flying at my nest blocks at 45F (!), again sunny and calm in between snow squalls."

We should try to get more of this data next year. Hopefully once we have a webcam running, with a thermometer in the bee shelter, we'll be able to gather this information remotely.

I wonder if our solar panel will generate enough power to run a grow mat as well as the webcam? Otherwise a grow mat is not a viable option for us.

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