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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research » Research » Research Project #443507

Research Project: Creating a Phenology Wheel for Beekeepers in the Southeast Region

Location: Pollinator Health in Southern Crop Ecosystems Research

Project Number: 6066-21000-001-021-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2023
End Date: Oct 1, 2024

To continue our broad collaborations on honey bee nutrition and health between the ARS and Mississippi State University.

Citizen scientist beekeepers will be recruited and pollen traps will be set up on their colonies for trapping pollen. Pollen traps will be turned on for 48 hours once a month over the 12 calendar months. The collected pollen samples will be frozen and shipped to Mississippi State for processing. Pollen will be sorted by color and texture according to the Pantone Color Wheel. For individual groups of colored pollen pellets in low quantities, fuchsin jelly staining will be used. Briefly, a jelly containing crystalline basic fuchsin will be prepared with distilled water, glycerin and gelatin. We will tap a few grains of pollen on the jelly, heat the jelly on a microscopic slide to melt it and view it under the microscope to match with available reference pollen samples for identification. For individual groups of colored pollen pellets in sufficient quantities, acetolysis will be conducted for palynology. Briefly, pollen samples will be prewashed with glacial acetic acid, then digested with 9:1 glacial acetic acid:sulfuric acid in a heating block, rinsed with water and ethanol and stained with Safranin O solution to visualize the acetolyzed pollen under a microscope. Images will be recorded and matched with available pollen references for identification and cataloging. Pollen will also be analyzed for protein and lipid content and matched with the respective identifications.