October 14th, 2018



All your efforts this past year were in the statewide spotlight this week as the Atlas was featured on the season premier of Oregon Field Guide. Many of you had to put up with TV cameras during sampling during Bee School and please know your efforts were so appreciated. A particular thanks to Michael O’Loughlin who did an amazing job explaining what the Atlas is about and why we are doing it. In case you missed it, you can view the episode here:



We want to begin by expressing gratitude around generating your specimen labels. We had planned to ship the labels out last week, but we found a few errors. The labels are very close and we will be shipping them out by the end of this week. These labels will be shipped to you directly if you have over 200 specimens, otherwise they will be sent to your group leaders.


Early next week you will be getting an email indicating the time has come to take your nest blocks down. Here is what to do:

  1. Cut the nest block down. If you have the wooden versions, be careful not to cut the white straps that bind the blocks together.

  2. Carefully transport the blocks back to your house with the holes facing up. The reason for keeping the holes facing up is to keep any late-developing larvae sitting on their pollen balls. Avoid excessive bumping during transport.

  3. The blocks should be stored outdoors in a dry location (out of the rain, and not where moisture puddles).

  4. We hope to get around to your location to pick up the blocks by the second week of November.

You should have already submitted an image along with GPS coordinates for where you had the blocks installed, if not, please write the GPS coordinates on the block label. We will be chilling the blocks during December and then incubating them to emerge and identify the bees.


After you get labels on your bees, you face two options for getting your bees identified.

  1. Identifying bees is not for everyone. If you are not that interested in identifying your bees, you can give your bees to your team leader. They can see if anyone in your group is interested in trying to identify your bees (option 2) or they can turn them over to the Oregon Department of Agriculture to identify.

  2. We will support people who want to learn how to identify their bees. There is no better way to learn than to try and identify your bees to the lowest taxonomic level you can. In many cases this will be the bee genus, in a few cases it will even be species. You have until February to identify these bees, at which time we will have experts go through and confirm or correct your determinations. Below is a video that shows the first step to determining your bee from our lead taxonomist, Lincoln Best.

After your bees have been looked over, we may pull a few of your specimens into the Oregon State Arthropod Collection, particularly if you have found the first records for your County (and we will let you know, and widely celebrate this feat). We will be returning specimens to you as well with the goal of building a determined reference collection for your County (which, in turn, will help you continue to grow as a taxonomist).

We will also be holding sessions at Corvallis with experienced taxonomists to help you learn the ropes. Bring your bees and the taxonomic key you got in the introductory training and you can work through your bees using fancy OSU microscopes and with the assistance of one of our instructors.

The Corvallis sessions are monthly on Saturdays (doors open at 9 am, but you can drop in until 4 pm). The next three sessions are:

  • October 20th

  • November 17th

  • December 15th

The sessions are in the Entomology teaching lab, which is room 3058, which is on the third floor of the Cordley Building (see below). This is different from the room we used for Bee School, which is on the first floor. If you get lost, text Andony and he will help direct you - 541 452 3038. Parking at OSU is free on the weekends. The best lots are the ones along Orchard Street.


We will be offering the same introductory training we did last year. If you want a refresher training, feel free to join us. Indicate your interest through this form: