Dr. Robbin Thorp will lead the Bumble Bee Blitz in search of Franklin’s bumble bee.
Bumble Bee Blitz
July 17-July 21 2017
Save the Date! Come out and help look for the possibly extinct Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklinii), and the rare Western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis) on Mt. Ashland and in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument this summer. No experience necessary!
Armed with nets and viewing jars we will follow the flowers and keep our hopes up that we’ll find Franklin’s bumble bee, a bumble bee that hasn’t been seen since Dr. Robbin Thorp’s last sighting on Mt. Ashland in 2006.
Robbin Thorp’s collection of the rare western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis) and the possibly extinct Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklinii). Note the size variations between queens, males and females. The queens are the largest.
Jeff Dillon, Endangered Species Division Manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explains the task this way:
“Once again, we will be spending time in the Ashland area searching for mainly Bombus franklini but also Bombus occidentalis. This year we plan to spend two full days up on Mt. Ashland (Tuesday/Wednesday), a day over at the Hobart Bluff area (Thursday), and potentially part of a day at Grizzly Peak (Friday morning). This will occur the week of July 17 to July 21, 2017. Some of us may get there early enough to chase a few bumble bees Monday afternoon at Mt. Ashland depending on our travel time (sort of a warm up for the big week).
As before, all are invited to participate – all ages and all experience levels.
If you have any questions this early on, feel free to email me or give me a call. I’ll be sending out reminder emails in the coming months.”
Jeffrey A. Dillon, Endangered Species Division Manager
US Fish and Wildlife Service Phone: 503.231.6179
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office Fax: 503.231.6195
2600 SE 98th Avenue, Suite 100 Email: Jeffrey_Dillon@fws.gov
Portland, Oregon 97266 http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo
If you are interested in joining the Bumble Bee Blitz let Jeff know and he can put you on an email update list.
We collected three different black tail bumble bees (Bombus melanopygus) in vials for observation. Males and females have different characteristics, and in the Klamath-Siskiyou this species has two different color patterns: red form and black form. These different characteristics and color patterns within a single species can make bumble bee ID difficult.
Vosnesensky bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) queen in a vial for observation in the field. She was collected on June 11th and was estimated to be about a month old. She will be inseminated by a male, fatten up, and soon go into a hibernation that will last until early spring. This queen was larger than any other bee we collected during the class. She was a beauty!
Viewing jars like these will be used to identify bees in the field. A bee/butterfly net will also be needed.
Sulphur flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) is potential habitat for foraging Franklin’s bumble bees. Let’s find them!