Sam Droege: Bee Mythbuster

by Catherine Howell

ARMN members, Master Gardeners, and others who had the good judgment to attend an information session at Fairlington Community Center on October 10 were rewarded with two hours of advanced training––and a lot of bee-themed standup, courtesy of Sam Droege.

Photo courtesy of Caroline Hayes

Photo courtesy of Caroline Haynes

Droege, a wildlife management expert with the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, shared his vast wisdom about North American bees, their habits, and their undisputed value as pollinators, while busting some of the myths surrounding the often-misunderstood insects.

Based at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Droege has designed and carried out surveys and inventories of birds and amphibians, but bees are his current passion. His survey efforts involve photographing hundreds of the 4,000 North American bee species at close range and high definition and making them available to researchers and the public to view and use. These stunning photos can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml Continue reading

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Interning at USGS Native Bee Lab

By Brooke Alexander

While I was taking the ARMN Basic Training Course in Fall 2011, I started working at Sam Droege’s U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitory Lab as an intern. I was amazed to learn that there are 4,000 native bee species in the U.S.!

Habropoda laboriosa, female. Blueberrry specialist.  Maryland Kent County Spring 20012.      . USGS BIML.

One of the projects I’m working on involves processing native bee specimens from national parks for 1) setting population baselines, and 2) tracking climate change.  Another project involves new stacking macrophotography of native bees.  These incredible photos are available on FLICKR at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/ Currently, there are 200 photos, but as this is an ongoing project, check back often for new photos added weekly.

Bombus terricola, male, back. First Maryland record, July 2012. USCG BIML.

The USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program designs and develops large and small scale surveys for native bees. As part of that project we also develop identification tools and keys for native bee species. One aspect of creating those tools is creating accurate and detailed pictures of native bees and the plants and insects they interact with. The USGS BIML website is designed to provide easy access to our photographs so that they may be freely used.

Paranthidium jugatorium, male. Allegany County, Maryland.
First State record, July 2012. USCG BIML.

Please contact Sam Droege for further information at sdroege@usgs.gov or 301-497-5840 or visit our website at www.pwrc.usgs.gov/nativebees/ .