Thursday, January 10, 2008

Native bees

On the NRV Natural History list last year, there was some discussion of native bee species that have become more evident after the disastrous decline of the honeybee (which is an exotic in North America).

It struck me at the time that it would be cool if we could take a stab at identifying the native bee species in our area. Not a lot of good reference material for that easily available. Now comes this notice from Sam Droege of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland:

There will be a "week-long, hands-on workshop on native bee identification at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia from March 24 through March 28. It will be taught by Rob Jean of Indiana State, Mark Arduser of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Cory Sheffield of York University, and Droege himself.

The point will be to train people to ID bees down to the species level. "A synoptic collection of eastern and central bees will be available throughout the week along with large numbers of surplus specimens that participants may keep as reference material. There will also be collecting trips, plus discussions on monitoring, survey and processing techniques. If you've found something locally you can't ID, bring it along and an expert with give it a try.

Details from Sam Droege:

His agency's website is here

To his announcement, Sam appended a neat poem by Carl Sandburg:

Bee Song

Bees in the late summer sun
Drone their song
Of yellow moons
Trimming black velvet
Droning, droning a sleepysong.


bill said...


Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee's experience
Of clovers and of noon!

Emily Dickinson

Seth Williamson said...

Lovely poem. I named my second daughter after Emily Dickinson. I love her work.

Anonymous said...

Seth, this is exciting. I tried to sign in last week after reading the bee challenge. Which I, too, have been working on in my 'spare time'.
Nearly two years ago I began in earnest a photographic journal of all the living things on our land, 15 acres and sometimes I cheat, but only around the borders. This was designed to be fun for me and a document to be passed onto my children and theirs
Of course, this project is impossible, but why worry.
As I see your blog develop, I want to encourage you to consider a book. The depth and breadth of your naturalist experience begs the idea.
More later, and hopefully as a contributor once in a while.

Scott Jackson-Ricketts