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Before After Bee Washing | by Sam Droege
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Before After Bee Washing

You probably have this problem. You get a specimen in, but it covered in gunk and its hairs are all matted. What do you do? Well, I think we have finally figured it out. Here is a specimen of Bombus rufocinctus caught by the state of Pennsylvania in some kind of dry trap, covered in moth scales and gook. Then, it gets a new look at the USGS BEEauty salon. Method is below. Photos by Greta Forbes




Pull tags off specimen


Drop specimen into centrifuge tube or vial with HOT water with high concentration of dish soap


Shake for about a minute...more if super goopy and matted


Dump into hand


Wash under hot running water


Put on paper towel to pull off water


Drop in Tube of acetone


Shake for around 30 seconds


Drop on paper towel and blot off excess Acetone


IMMEDIATELY take to a station that allows you to blow compressed air on specimen


We use a latex hose that connects the lab's compressed air nozzle on a lab bench and then connects to the extracted top of a lab wash bottle...the type with a long tube that goes through the cap into the bottle.....attach the latex tube using a binder clamp or it will slip off


Turn on air a SMALL amount


Use your the wash bottle nozzle to blow air on specimen


Note: If you blow air directly from compressed air fitting the wings will shred


Blow until hairs are dry and separated


For best results do under a microscope


See for a good before/after example


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Uploaded on August 11, 2017