Journal archives for February 2020

February 13, 2020

Solitary Bee & Wasp Hole Size Trial - What and How

The bamboo tube set, with varying hole diameters is designed to address two questions. The primary question is:
• Do certain types of wasps select for hole sizes? A primary target for this trial is one or two species of Grass-Carrying Wasps that are reported or known from this area.
A secondary question is:
• What other kinds of solitary bees and wasps are present in our area of South Mississippi?

The placement of these devices will do much to begin to answer both questions, regardless of what species of bees or wasps use them. The key is paying close attention to these devices to observe what shows up and which tubes are used.

Directions for Deployment
• Find a sturdy post on a porch or small tree in your yard to which you can secure the device, using nails, screws or pieces of cord. The largest tube should be at the bottom.
• Ideally, this location is a place that you frequent daily, which will facilitate observations.
• Place the device at your eye level, which will facilitate your observations of activity and photos taken with your phone or camera.
• The direction of the openings is not as important as your ability to see them for observations, so orient the device so that you can clearly see them.
• Make sure that the device is held tightly in place and does not wobble.
• Make sure that the bamboo tubes sit horizontally, so that rain cannot easily enter the tubes. A slight downward orientation is acceptable.

Making and Reporting Observations
• Ideally, observations should be made daily or every few days, to catch any ongoing activity. Short of seeing a wasp or bee, look for other signs of activity, like pieces of grass or other materials sticking out of the tube.
• A photo of any bee or wasp using any of these tubes is the preferred way to record use and to correctly identify the species.
• To obtain a clear photo, you will likely have to stand near the tubes and wait for the insect to emerge or fly back to the hole. From experience, these insects will return to their hole within a few minutes after leaving, so your best strategy to wait them out until you get your clear photo.
• Photos will constitute the primary means of recording activity and must be submitted to the iNaturalist “Solitary Bee Wasp Hole-Size Trial” project page.
• Submit your observation photos to iNaturalist either on the iNaturalist mobile app or via the website on your computer.
• Identify your observation as specifically as you can, but at the least, enter it as “Bees and wasps.” Your observations will automatically be collected into the the iNaturalist “Solitary Bee Wasp Hole-Size Trial” project page.
• If you are not already a user of iNaturalist, you will need to register (at on computer, or in the free iNaturalist mobile app). Once online, you will be invited to this closed group to submit records of your observations.
• Feel free to also add observations of any other organisms! These will not go into the “Solitary Bee and Wasp” project but will be shared with other naturalists.
• The iNaturalist site has great video tutorials to get you started and learn as you use the app. Start with the “Getting Started” videos at this link

Recording Ongoing Activity
• Once you make the initial record of use of any given hole, subsequent significant activities should be noted in that original record – using the comments section.
• Examples include, “insect again seen with food or plant materials”, or “insect has closed off the end of the tube”.
• These records MUST include the dates of these observations.

Posted on February 13, 2020 01:33 by janetwright janetwright | 0 comments | Leave a comment