First week of testing is underway and going swimmingly! Our enclosures are looking great, and the bumbles seem happy. All 12 bumble bee hives look healthy and are actively visiting flowers in the enclosure and out in the field.
To allow the bumbles to get into the enclosures, we attached clear tubes from the hive entrance to the enclosure. It's quite adorable to watch them scurry in and out of the hive.
But getting to the point of this study... we are trying to see how the bumble bees will fair when we add the invasive wool-carder bees into half the enclosures. We spent the first part of this week running around the greater Tufts area catching wool-carder bees. And in just two days caught enough to get at least 2-3 wool-carders in each experimental enclosure (6 total). While this is great news for the experiment, it's a sad reminder of just how prevalent these invaders are :/.
But on a happy science note, once the wool-carders were in the enclosures, we saw some pretty amazing changes in bumble bee behavior. The bumble bees were originally very active in every enclosure, and now we are only seeing 1 or 2 (if any!) in the enclosures that have wool-carders! While the enclosures without wool-carders are still buzzing with bumbles. This is very preliminary, but all signs point to bumbles hating wool-carders.
And I don't blame them. I couldn't get any videos of them attacking bumble bees but I did get a video of one "patrolling" his territory. Hope you can see him! He lands on a flower in the bottom left corner at the end.
Check back soon to hear more about the data we are collecting!