PHOTOS: SCIENCE IN ACTION

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AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

The Giant Patagonian bumble bee, Bombus dahlbomii, has decreased by 80% in its native range in South America.

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SEARCHING FAR AND WIDE

PI Amy Toth spent a year sabbatical in Argentina (2018-2019) studying the causes of decline of the rare Patagonian bumble bee.

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THERMAL IMAGING

We are investigating whether differences in thermal biology may influence bumble bee species' survival, in Patagonia and Iowa.

 
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PRAIRIE STRIPS FOR BEES

Bee hives kept in prairie strips produce more honey and grow larger than those in control sites.

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FASCINATING BEHAVIOR

Polistes paper wasps are social and have surprising cognitive abilities.  In a recent study we found they explore their own reflections in mirrors.

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BEE COLLECTIONS IN THE FIELD

Grad student Erika Ibarra-Garibay collects native bees in the field while pollinators forage on prairie striips.

 
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FORAGER IN FLIGHT

A honey bee forages on red clover, one of the most common sources of forage in IOWA.

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PRAIRIE POLLEN

Honey bees in experimental hives have packed the comb full of diverse pollen.

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HIVE INSPECTIONS

Former grad student Ashley St. Clair and undergraduate Zoe Pritchard record data on honey bee hive health in Iowa prairies.

 
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RAINBOW NEST

This Polistes metricus wasp made her nest from colored construction paper, which we provided as building material.

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WASP NEST BOXES IN THE FIELD

Are used in many experiments. Here, we simulated vibrational communication using piezoelectric devices.

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WASP REARING IN THE LAB

Polistes paper wasps can be readily reared in the laboratory.

 
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WASP NEST MAPPING

Is often used to track nest development. It is usually done at night, here by Amy Geffre.

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PAINT MARKED WASPS

Are not only colorful, but useful! This allows us to track individual behavior.

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HAND FEEDING WASP LARVAE

Using a pipetter is a handy way to deliver experimental treatments, such as drugs or dsRNA.

 
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CHECKING BEEHIVES

Is a regular part of our work, so that we have healthy bees for experiments.  PI Amy Toth pictured in a rare moment wearing a brand new beesuit.  They don't stay clean for long so definitely a photo opp!

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TEAM WORK

Happens a lot. Here, we were all pitching in to help paint about 10,000 bees in a day. Former lab members Zoe Pritchard, Jenny Jandt, Erin McCall, and Kate Hunter.

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A MOBILE LABORATORY

Is sometimes needed to make collections at numerous field sites around Iowa.

 
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BREAK OF DAWN

Monitoring wasp nests is substantially easier at dawn when all occupants are home and sleepy.  Former lab member Colby Behrens pictured.

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TRAINING NEW-BEES

We've introduced hundreds of new students to beekeeping!  Alex Walton pictured demonstrating how to open a hive on a training day.

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OBSERVING BEES

Much of our work involves inspecting and observing bees in the field. Pictured are PI Amy Toth and former postdoc Adam Dolezal.