A call for bees has been issued. Participating beekeepers will be mailed a collection package with instructions and a prepaid envelope for return.
I recently collected worker bees from my hives and sent them off to the study.
Collecting the bees was an adventure. Firstly, being a known scaredy-cat,
What is one to do in such a situation? What do I normally use to collect small things while avoiding direct contact? A fork! No, no, better scratch that idea. DNA is to be extracted at the lab, not the hive. Forceps! No, no, I would have to invent a reason to visit my doctor, and she might notice them missing after the appointment anyway. Tweezers! No, no, too narrow. Chopsticks! Hmm...might be on to something. But how to avoid fumbling? I require fine control. Children's Chopsticks! (you know, the kind of chopsticks joined together at the top) ... and I just happen to have a pair in a drawer somewhere.
On to the next problem. How does one get something from a large space into a small space (like a collection vial), when that something is moving and completely adverse to such a procedure? A funnel and a push-rod! (See chopstick, above, for push-rod).
A funnel into a vial. What a great combination. All I need is some way to join those two great ideas. I know...Scotch Tape!
Into the kitchen, for supplies. Back to the hive carrying two kinds of chopsticks, a funnel, scotch tape. But no bee gloves. Chin up, scaredy-cat!
It would be a perfect system, if the collection samples couldn't fly away after being placed in the funnel. Or wouldn't simply grasp the chopstick and ride it like the drop-tower at Six Flags. But I digress.
Four bees in nine minutes. Should I reconsider my plan to switch careers and become a lab assistant or inventor?
Actually, the collection went just fine. One hive was pretty quick, with the other I fumbled around a bit. Once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy to pickup the bee, place it in the funnel, and tap it into the vial.
Other beekeepers are staring blankly at me after simply grasping a bee with their fingers and placing it in the vial, but I digress.