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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392129

Research Project: Biological Control and Habitat Restoration for Invasive Weed Management

Location: Pest Management Research

Title: Comparing three collection methods for pollinating insects within electric transmission rights-of-ways

item Campbell, Joshua
item ABBATE, ANTHONY - Auburn University
item West, Natalie
item STRAUB, LARS - University Of Bern
item WILLIAMS, GEOFFREY - Auburn University

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/19/2023
Publication Date: 1/30/2023
Citation: Campbell, J.W., Abbate, A., West, N.M., Straub, L., Williams, G. 2023. Comparing three collection methods for pollinating insects within electric transmission rights-of-ways. Journal of Insect Conservation.

Interpretive Summary: How to adequately collect pollinating insects to document abundance and diversity remains unclear. Using sweep nets, colored bowl traps, and vane traps are three commonly used methods. We compared these collecting methods for pollinating insects within electric transmission rights-of-ways. Each collecting method collected pollinating insect groups that the others did not. However, overall vane traps collected the highest abundance and diversity of pollinating insects. Our study highlights the need to utilize multiple collecting methods to adequately document pollinator abundance and diversity.

Technical Abstract: Various methods exist for collecting pollinating insects; however, colored bowl traps, vane traps, and sweep netting are among the most commonly used approaches, and may yield different estimates of insect abundance and taxa diversity depending on habitat type. Electric transmission rights-of-ways (ROWs) are found throughout the United States and provide early successional habitat which may provide an abundance of floral and nesting resources for many insect pollinators. Despite the potential for harboring pollinating insects, few researchers have focused on ROWs as important pollinator habitat. We surveyed pollinating insects with ROWs and the surrounding habitat in central Alabama during spring and summer of 2018 using colored bowl traps, vane traps, and targeted sweep netting of insects on flowering plants. Overall, each collection method collected several bee genera and other pollinators that were not collected with the other methods. Blue vane traps collected more bee taxa and overall pollinating insect diversity compared to colored bowl traps and sweep netting. Sweep netting flowering plants collected the fewest pollinating insects but did document some genera that colored bowl traps and vane traps did not. Our data support the use of multiple collecting methods to document pollinator insect diversity and abundance. Implications for insect conservation: This study suggests that accurately assessing insect pollinator abundance and diversity should not depend solely on one type of collecting method due to potential collection biases. Alternatively, if specific pollinator taxa are sought, utilizing certain collecting methods over others may enhance the probability of collection.