Sampling bee communities using pan traps: alternative methods increase sample size
Bees play an important role in natural and agricultural landscapes and increased interest in these pollinators has lead to an increase in studies designed to monitor bee populations across the globe. Many studies investigating bee diversity use pan traps (colored plastic bowls filled with soapy water) as a cost-effective trapping method. Here we investigate how alternative pan trap designs (both the size of the traps, and the addition of “nectar guides”) affect the number of specimens collected. We find that larger pan traps collect more specimens than small and medium sized traps, and that the addition of “nectar guides” can significantly increase the number of specimens collected. Increased sample sizes can lead to a better understanding of patterns of bee diversity, which can lead to more informed management decisions.
KeywordsBee declines Trapping methods Pan traps Bowl traps Nectar guides
We thank Jake Francis and Matthew Forister for advice on the statistical aspects of this study. Heather Hines helped with the analyses of reflectance and absorbance of the nectar guides. We also thank the student volunteers that assisted in labeling specimens.
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