Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 919–922 | Cite as

Sampling bee communities using pan traps: alternative methods increase sample size

  • Joseph S. WilsonEmail author
  • Joshua P. Jahner
  • Lisa Starley
  • Carmelle L. Calvin
  • Harold Ikerd
  • Terry Griswold


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.


Bee 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.

Supplementary material

10841_2016_9914_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph S. Wilson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joshua P. Jahner
    • 2
  • Lisa Starley
    • 1
  • Carmelle L. Calvin
    • 1
  • Harold Ikerd
    • 3
  • Terry Griswold
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUtah State University - TooeleTooeleUSA
  2. 2.Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, Department of BiologyUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA
  3. 3.USDA ARS Bee Biology and Systematics LaboratoryLoganUSA

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