Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 951–964 | Cite as

Assessing bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) diversity of an Illinois restored tallgrass prairie: methodology and conservation considerations

  • Ray K. Geroff
  • Jason Gibbs
  • Kenneth W. McCravyEmail author


Bee species diversity and the effectiveness of four sampling methods were investigated in a west-central Illinois restored tallgrass prairie. Bees were sampled using malaise traps, ground-level pan traps, elevated pan traps, and vane traps. A total of 4,622 bees representing 31 genera and 111 species were collected. Malaise traps collected the greatest number of bees and species, and ground-level pan traps the least. Among the pan traps and vane traps, blue-colored traps collected the greatest abundance and species richness, and yellow traps the least. Chao1 estimator and rarefaction analyses showed that substantial increases in sample sizes would be necessary to achieve asymptotic species richness levels, particularly if ground-level pan traps alone were used. Elevated pan traps and vane traps collected relatively similar species composition. Different colored pan traps at the same height collected more similar species composition than did those at different heights, but species composition of blue ground-level pan traps was relatively similar to elevated pan traps, regardless of color. Indicator species analysis revealed 22 species that were significantly associated with a specific trap type, and 11 species that were associated with a particular pan trap color/elevation. Results of this study show that elevated traps can increase the effectiveness of bee surveys in tallgrass prairie, and that a combination of trap types gives a more complete picture of the bee fauna than does a single survey method. These results should be considered along with cost, ease of use, and goals when planning and designing bee inventories.


Pan traps Malaise traps Vane traps Bee inventory Bee sampling methods Grassland bees 



We thank Sam Droege (USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Beltsville, MD), Rob Jean (Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN), Mike Arduser (Missouri Department of Conservation, St. Charles, MO), and Jared Ruholl (Lewis and Clark Community College National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Vandalia, IL) for invaluable assistance with bee identifications. We also thank Jennifer Hopwood (The Xerces Society, Omaha, NE) for helpful advice on bee biology and sampling, and Sean Jenkins (Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL) for sharing his knowledge of prairie ecology and management. Prairie Biotic Research, Inc., and the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Student Research and Professional Development Fund, University Research Council and the Foundation Office of Western Illinois University provided generous funding for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray K. Geroff
    • 1
  • Jason Gibbs
    • 2
  • Kenneth W. McCravy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesWestern Illinois UniversityMacombUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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