Preparing the field site
Field site preparation is underway! We are setting up 12 screened enclosures to house 12 bumble bee hives. 6 of these enclosures will also have wool-carder bees added to them. We will then monitor the bumble bees over 10 weeks to see if there are any fitness consequences for the colonies living with wool-carder bees.
I have three amazing Tufts undergrads working for me - Isabel, Kevin and Sean. They have been doing back breaking work to get everything ready for the bumble bees, which arrive on Monday (7/13).
And when I say back breaking work, it's no joke. We had to dig the grass up for each enclosure so we could plant flowering plants without competition from weeds and grass. Not sure digging shallow holes for hours in the hot sun was what they pictured when they volunteered to help with research. But no complaints yet!
Once the digging was completed, we were able to get all 12 enclosures up. And so far, so good. The enclosures seem to be holding strong, thanks largely to the string rigging genius of Kevin. They've even made it through a couple thunderstorms. Which means they are ready for bees!
Our goal now is to make the enclosures a happy home. This means providing lots of bee food (pollen and nectar). We've gotten some flowering plants in, but still need some more before the bumbles arrive.
I'm so grateful to have such hard working undergrads to help me this summer. Field site prep would have taken me twice as long (at least) without their help.
Check back here over the next couple weeks to see how the bees are settling into their new homes!