By: Arlin Delgado
My independent project was created in hopes of finding a more consistent manner to crush honey bee samples in preparation for Nosema counting. The current method involves the use of a Pin Roller and a sealed Ziploc® Bag (containing a 100 bee count sample). This method introduces multiple issues. First, the amount of pressure applied between researchers can create variety in the amount of crushing the bees undergo. Furthermore, some researchers will pin roll for longer increments of time, which once again changes the amount of crushing. The use of a Ziploc® bag does not separate debris and particles from Nosema spores that may have an impact on the visible Nosema under the microscope.
With these issues in mind, I looked into the use of a Pasta Roller, which previous work had established created constant pressure, as well as a Mesh Bag, which has two compartments to separate Bee components from liquid. The following four combinations were devised: Pin Roller with Ziploc® Bag, Pin Roller with Mesh Bag, Pasta Roller with Ziploc® Bag, and Pasta Roller with Mesh Bag. To create consistency between Pasta Rolling methods, I created a standard protocol for rolling, and did so for the Pin Rolling methods as well. Once the bees were all crushed accordingly, Nosema counts were taken. A total of 10 aliquots per method per population were taken to find means as well as variance (Pictured Below).
In addition to my independent project, I joined Pollinaterps and worked with the team to create a display that creates awareness of the importance of Pollinators and provides information to Gardeners. I worked at Maryland Day. This is a campus wide event which showcases the work and community at the University. I assisted participants in creating Bamboo Nests. Bamboo Nests (pictured below) create habitats for solitary nesting bees, such as Leaf-cutter Bees, and are an easy way to attract native pollinators to gardens.
1) Gather 7 to 8 dry Bamboo Sticks (varying sizes)
2) Tie twice with 2 Zip ties
3) Tie a 3rd Zip tie to create a handle
4) Hang facing a Southeast facing position
Moreover, I was also able to create two informational handouts, a postcard and a brochure, on Nesting Habitats that can be built in backyards to attract Native Bees. As pictured below: