I really haven’t been up to anything extremely exciting. Sorting through several excel sheets of data is not exactly one of the glamours of research. Personally, I like collecting the data. And I like looking at x-rays. Bee x-rays to be exact. For the past few weeks I have been double checking some of my bee nest x-rays. So by now you are probably thinking what a nut I must be…”how do the bees hold still for x-rays?” Well, it’s not the bees themselves that I had x-rayed, but the nests that contain the baby bees inside. Because I am studying what is happening to the native bee populations as urbanization here in Tucson increases, I have to look at the total production of bees in small and large urban fragments. To do this I need to know how many baby bees are in the artificial bee nests in these different areas. This is where x-rays come in. It is similar to you getting an x-ray at the doctors office. The doctor wants to see what is inside without having to cut you open. I want to see what is inside the nests without having to cut each nest open.
Guess what…IT WORKS! bee nests can be x-rayed. Here’s the proof…
To really be able to look inside, the radiology department at University Medical Center in Tucson, gave me a disc with software built in. It allows me to change the brightness and contrast as well as zoom in and out, measure things, etc. I thought it was really nice of them to help me. Especially because they x-rayed hundreds of nests for free. Lot’s of great people over there. The letters help me keep track of which stick was in which fragment. They are scrap booking letters. Great for scrapbooks and great for x-rays!
Back to the x-rays. Here is a close up of one of my sticks
Those funky little bean shaped things inside are the baby bees. During this stage they are called larvae, which means they are in a juvenile form. The circle around each one is their cocoon. Looking at this picture, you can count the number of baby bees inside. I will post more pictures of x-rays showing the capping and more bean bees. I will leave you with this…how many bees does it take to fill a nest?