FroBee

What’s in your Igloo? A sandwich? Beer? Body parts? Well, sure, you’re a doctor…..

Well, as it happens: I had frozen invasive bees in mine. A researcher at the University of Ghent got in touch with me via iNaturalist and asked if I would collect Sculptured Resin Bees (Megachile sculpuralis) and

European Wool-carder Bees (Anthidium manicatum). Both of these species are native to Eurasia. The large resin bee is a relatively recent addition to North America, first being reported in North Carolina in 1994. The smaller wool-carder, so named because it gathers “wool”-like plant fibers for its nest, arrived “before 1963” — both dates from bugguide.net.

Generally speaking, both of these bees seem to thrive on non-native plants here. The big resin bees are a problem for native carpenter bees. The smaller wool-carders are ridiculously aggressive and chase off everything from their patch.

This I learned from an entomologist: specimens are wrapped in toilet paper and then frozen in envelops. Paper is better than plastic or glass because it’s absorbent and permeable, thus helping to fight the bane of all dead specimens: fungal and bacterial rot.

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2 Responses to “FroBee”


  1. 1 Chuck McAlexander September 26, 2021 at 10:33 am

    How do you get bees to stay in the cooler before they are frozen? Offer them a mai-tai and a tiny chaise lounge for their comfort?

    • 2 mthew September 26, 2021 at 11:10 am

      I froze ’em in the jars I caught ’em in. The cooler is for the first stage of transportation, to the person who will send them along to Ghent along with the specimens she caught this summer. At the bee bar, btw, it’s margaritas all day long.


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