This summer we spent over 80 hours watching bees. Which, if you haven’t ever done that, I highly recommend it. Ok, maybe you don’t need to spend quite that much time bee watching. But I promise that even spending just a few minutes will be both entertaining and rejuvenating.
We saw wool-carder bees chase bumble bees, chase each other, and even find love (ok, “mate”).
Likewise, the bumble bees were busy doing what they do – collecting food (pollen and nectar), both gracefully and not so gracefully (they are called “bumble” for a reason).
And amongst all this fun, we collected lots of data. Data analysis is currently ongoing, but results are looking very strong in support of our hypothesis - that wool-carder bees are bad news for bumble bees. Wool-carder bees kept bumbles away from flowers through direct attacks, and competition. And preliminary data looks like wool-carders are bad for the flowers they visit too.
So, as the weather turns colder, and the bees all start to disappear from gardens, I’ll be analyzing results and planning more research projects!
Check back for more posts on my “winter” lab work and my plans for next summer!