Today we had three options of field sites to visit, Wilcox, Douglas and Animas. I chose Douglas because the instructor taking us there, raved about how fantastic this site was for collecting bees. It was pretty fun, but I think the Wilcox group did better…
But! What they didn’t see was a Gila monster!! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s an extremely dangerous lizard that has lethal venom. If it bites you, you’re pretty much done…especially as far from the city as we were. This little guy was actually injured, probably run over by a car, with a couple of broken limbs, but he was still mean.
It’s funny, because we saw this little guy on our way to our first collection site, so we made a U-turn to go back and pull-over to observe it more closely. But as we were getting ready to hit the road again, be passed by a Boarder Patrol car, and the driver looked at us quite suspiciously. We didn’t mind though, so we carried on…until one of the girls in the van turned around to talk to me and realized the boarder patrol agents had been following us with flashing lights! I don’t know how it took us to notice them, but we pulled over, and told them we were out bee hunting. We had no problem, but apparently the gila monster was right by a site that boarder patrol was focused on, and so it must have looked weird that we u-turned in a giant 12 passenger van with tinted windows, right at that location.
Anyways, we carried on to our first collection site, conveniently called “1 mile east of Douglas”. There I saw a road runner, but it ran away faster than I could pull out my camera. I also caught a nice number of bees there. After there, we continued east, until we hit “26 miles east of Douglas” which is was our second collection site. There were so many beetles on all the flowers that also had a lot of bees and wasps, so it was really tricky to try and sweep the plant and catch the bees you wanted.
After that, it was 1pm, and we started heading back to Douglas. We had lunch on the drive and made it to the town, which we then had a chance to explore on our way to the Walmart. It’s a town that has a lot of potential, but so many of the buildings are abandoned, and/or borded up, so it’s not as nice as it could be. It’s packed with Mexicans, not surprisingly since it’s only a few miles from Mexico, so it’s got a little latino flair to it. We also stopped at DQ once we were done at walmart, and got ourselves a refreshing ice cream or smoothie. Even there some of the group was collecting bees on an ornamental tree that was blooming. The staff at DQ must have thought we were crazy, beating the tree with a net. Oh well, we caught a good number of Xylocopa which were nectar robbing the flowers!
Made it back, washed and pinned my bees, ate dinner, had another lecture on bee biology; this time focused on bee nests and life history. Very interesting how bee larva adapt to survive!
Now I’m pooped, and my internet isn’t working, so I’ll post this in the morning.