Survey of Soybean Insect Pollinators: Community Identification and Sampling Method Analysis

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2015-06-01
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Gill, K. A.
O'Neal, M. E.
O'Neal, Matthew
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Entomology
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Entomology
Abstract

Soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, flowers can be a source of nectar and pollen for honey bees, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), wild social and solitary bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea), and flower-visiting flies (Diptera). Our objectives were to describe the pollinator community in soybean fields, determine which sampling method is most appropriate for characterizing their abundance and diversity, and gain insight into which pollinator taxa may contact soybean pollen. We compared modified pan traps (i.e., bee bowls), yellow sticky traps, and sweep nets for trapping pollinators in Iowa soybean fields when soybeans were blooming (i.e., reproductive stages R1–R6) during 2011 and 2012. When all trap type captures were combined, we collected 5,368 individuals and at least 50 species. Per trap type, the most pollinators were captured in bee bowls (3,644 individuals, 44 species), yellow sticky traps (1,652 individuals, 32 species), and sweep nets (66 individuals, 10 species). The most abundant species collected include Agapostemon virescens F. and Lasioglossum (Dialictus) species (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), Melissodes bimaculata Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Apidae), and Toxomerus marginatus Say (Diptera: Syrphidae). To determine if these pollinators were foraging on soybean flowers, we looked for soybean pollen on the most abundant bee species collected that had visible pollen loads. We found soybean pollen alone or intermixed with pollen grains from other plant species on 29 and 38% of the bees examined in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Our data suggest a diverse community of pollinators—composed of mostly native, solitary bees—visit soybean fields and forage on their flowers within Iowa.

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This article is published as Gill, K. A., and M. E. O’Neal. "Survey of soybean insect pollinators: Community identification and sampling method analysis." Environmental entomology 44, no. 3 (2015): 488-498. doi: 10.1093/ee/nvv001. Posted with permission.

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