Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1123–1136 | Cite as

To enrich or not to enrich? Are there any benefits of using multiple colors of pan traps when sampling aculeate Hymenoptera?



The decline of Aculeata has raised concerns regarding their conservation and the maintenance of their function as important pollinators. Pan trapping is among the most frequently used methods for monitoring these organisms. Numerous researchers have suggested using pan traps of multiple colors in addition to the yellow traps. Here we provide the first data for the color preferences of European Aculeata by analyzing 5,421 individuals from 356 species of bees and wasps obtained using white, yellow, turquoise and pink pan traps. The total capture rates and diversity were higher in the white and yellow traps over the turquoise and pink ones. The species-specific abundance did not follow changes in the total capture rates. Nevertheless, only seven (of the 96 most commonly captured species) were captured at low rates in the yellow traps, but were obtained at high rates in the white traps. Only two species (Apis mellifera and Priocnemis minuta) were captured preferentially to other than white or yellow traps. Importantly, caution is needed when assessing the sex ratios of Aculeata obtained by pan trapping because many Aculeata display sex-specific color preferences. For example, in Dasypoda hirtipes, we captured 14 of 16 males in the yellow traps, but obtained 34 of 38 females in the turquoise traps. We provide experimental evidence that the females of numerous oligolectic bees (collecting pollen for their brood on a few specific plant species) display more stringent trap color preferences than their males, which correlates with their observed flower color preferences.


Color preferences Ecosystem services Insect diversity Insect pollinators Invertebrate surveys Moericke traps Trap bias Yellow pan traps 



The study was supported by the PRVOUK project P31/2012 from the Charles University in Prague, and by the Specifický výzkum projects 2101/2013 and 2102/2013 from the University of Hradec Králové. We thank Lukáš Nývlt and Pavlína Tauchmanová for their help with field sampling. We thank Pavel Tyrner and Jakub Straka for the revision of several specimens from the Chrysididae and Pompilidae families.

Supplementary material

10841_2014_9723_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (131 kb)
Supplementary table 1: List of the species found, including the information on their sex, number captured by traps of each of the colors tested, number of trap-days, country where the species were captured, and their Red List status in the Czech Republic (PDF 131 kb)
10841_2014_9723_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (131 kb)
Supplementary table 2: Observed and expected numbers of individuals captured by traps of each of the colors tested. Shown are the species captured at n ≥ 10 individuals only (n = 96 species), the capture rates were tested by the χ2 tests with Bonferroni correction (PDF 130 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Third Faculty of MedicineCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Hradec KrálovéHradec KralovéCzech Republic

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