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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383688

Research Project: Sustainable Small Farm and Organic Grass and Forage Production Systems for Livestock and Agroforestry

Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Title: Color of pan trap influences sampling of bees in livestock pasture ecosystem

item ACHARYA, ROSHANI - University Of Arkansas
item LESLIE, TIMOTHY - Long Island University
item FITTING, EMILY - University Of Maine
item Burke, Joan
item LOFTIN, KELLY - University Of Arkansas
item JOSHI, NEELENDRA - University Of Arkansas

Submitted to: Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2021
Publication Date: 5/19/2021
Citation: Acharya, R.S., Leslie, T., Fitting, E.P., Burke, J.M., Loftin, K., Joshi, N.K. 2021. Color of pan trap influences sampling of bees in livestock pasture ecosystem. Biology. 10(445):1-14.

Interpretive Summary: Decline of insect pollinators which wholly support our plant food production has increased the importance of accurately monitoring pollinator diversity and abundance over time. Collaborators from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, University of Arkansas, Long Island University and University of Maine determined that blue pan traps attracted the highest rates of bees and enabled scientists to understand species richness, but yellow and green traps captured more insects in general than blue and purple. These results can be used to guide research to understand relative abundance, richness, similarity and community assemblage patterns of insects in native grass and forb pastures which is important to entomologists, food scientists, environmentalists and ecologists.

Technical Abstract: Decline of insect pollinators has increased the importance of accurately monitoring pollinator diversity and abundance over time. Sampling techniques include use of passive insect traps such as pan traps, yet there is still discussion over their utility and effectiveness in different ecosystems. The objective was to examine four different colors of pan traps (blue, green, yellow, and purple) for their utility in sampling bees in native forages rotationally grazed by sheep, and compare relative abundance, richness, similarity, and community assemblage patterns among the four trap colors. Most bees were from the Halictidae family (89%). The most abundant species were Lasioglossum imitatum (42.2%), Augochlorella aurata (8.3%), L. subviridatum (6.8), Agapostemon texanus (6.4), and L. birkmani (4.1%). Blue pan traps exhibited the highest rates of bee capture and species accumulation. Purple and yellow colored traps were moderately effective in capturing bees, while the green color pan traps were least effective. Similarly, observed and extrapolated species richness was highest in blue trap, followed by purple, yellow, and green. Notably, the blue trap captured the highest number of unique species, followed by purple, yellow and green traps. Considering the total number of insects collected (including bees and other insects), yellow and green traps captured a significantly higher number of insects than other colored traps. The light reflectance from blue, purple, green and yellow pan traps had peaks at 450, 400, 550, and 600 nm, respectively. Since different insect pollinators respond to different light intensities, wavelengths, and reflectivity, these results could be used to guide future trapping protocols targeting certain insect groups in livestock pasture and similar ecosystems.