This semester, I am a teaching assistant for Tufts University’sExperiments in Ecology (a.k.a. BIO 51). BIO 51 is a team taught class where undergraduate students learn about three different study systems, and design their own experiments. This semester’s study systems are honey bees, snails, and tea. The honey bee unit is led by my adviser […]
Have you seen this pollen?
While I was in Exeter, UK for theInternational Society for Behavioral Ecology (ISBE), I got a message from my two interns: the bees looked sick. In five of our eight observation hives, some of the worker bees had white dots stuck to their back. Even one of the queens had it! The only thing I […]
Everyone knows that bees are busy. Many know that their hives work like a well-oiled machine. But did you know that a bee’s life is basically organized chaos? Take this video for example. Slowed down to ¼ the speed, these foragers aren’t as graceful as they first appear. At the beginning of the video, a […]
Back to the drawing board
My interns (James and Joanna) and I recently installed pollen traps on our observation hive at Tufts University. We installed the pollen traps to control which amino acids our bees eat. Since pollen is basically the bees’ only source of amino acids (there are small amounts of amino acids in nectar), pollen traps allow us […]
This year marks my first bee installation! Although I have been studying and keeping bees for about 3 years now, I had only worked with observation hives. I don’t actually install the bees in the observation hives—I bring empty observation hives to our bee guy (Rick Reault, owner of New England Beekeeping). Then, Rick installs […]
The Starks Lab is ready for Tour de Hives 2016!
As some of you may have seen on Facebook, the Starks Lab “bee huts” got a serious facelift this summer. During the first week of the Tufts University Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, we were landscapers, painters, and carpenters—and it was a blast! Although I am a field biologist, I can honestly say that […]
Balance is key
Recently, Harmen P. Hendriksma and Sharoni Shafir of the Bee Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel published a paper entitled “Honey bee foragers balance colony nutritional deficiencies.” Anyone who knows me or my research might know that I have been waiting (slightly impatiently) for this full paper to become available. Finally, […]
Stop copying me!
There are a lot of bee mimics out there. Some are so good that they trick people who spend a lot of time with bees (like myself)! To the right is a photo of me with one of those mimics (photo credit goes to Clint Perry, a Tufts graduate student in the Psychology department). At […]
This past week I attended the First Annual Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes Conference in Hendersonville, NC. When it comes to protecting pollinators, a lot of research focuses on honey bees, pathogens, pesticides, and the current state of agriculture however, most of us encounter pollinators in the ornamental landscape (i.e. urban environments, backyard gardens). At […]
It's that time of year
Acutally, this video was taken a little over a month ago so it is a bit past that time of year. During late summer/early fall, honey bee hives prepare for the winter by kicking out the males (a.k.a. drones). In this video, you can see the smaller (female) worker forcefully removing a larger (male) drone […]