The Bee Inventory Plot

Reports Guidelines Identification Links

On 9-10 January 2002, a group of researchers interested in bees and pollination met informally at the USDA Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory in Logan Utah. Included in the group were, bee taxonomists/ systematists (Griswold, Minckley, Parker), conservation ecologists (Droege, Kremen, LeBuhn, Williams, Messinger), pollination biologists (Cane, LeBuhn, Roulston, Williams), bee ecologists (Minckley, Roulston) and an expert in sampling and monitoring issues of natural populations of non-game animals and plants (Droege). Among the participants were the principal investigators of the five largest scale projects of bees currently being done in North America (Droege, Griswold, Kremen, LeBuhn, Minckley). The original intent was to discuss the feasibility of developing a standardized sampling protocol that would generate information on geographic patterns of bee diversity. By meetings end, we concluded that to adequately measure bee diversity two general approaches would meet our goals; either commit a group of expert collectors to travel worldwide and sample, or entice many investigators already living worldwide to contribute to a single set of data. This second collaborative approach has the advantage that more sites would be sampled worldwide and yearlong collections would be more easily made. We realized that the major limiting factor for the collaborative approach is differences in the ability of contributors to capture and identify bee species. We concluded that needed for such an approach was:

1) a simple sampling protocol that required low cost equipment available worldwide and could be used by scientists of many interests, amateurs and school groups;

2) a mechanism to curate and accurately identify specimens in a timely manner; and

3) a venue where both the information on sampling and data collected could be centralized and made broadly available.

Protocol:  A protocol was developed and has been implemented at over one hundred sites across the United States and Canada. The protocol is still being refined but is available here. Current draft

Participants: Gretchen LeBuhn, Sam Droege, Neal Williams, Bob Minckley, Terry Griswold, Claire Kremen, Olivia Messinger, Jim Cane, T'ai Roulston, Frank Parker, Vince Tepedino, Steve Buchmann

Various reports and Documents of Tests of Bee Bowl Monitoring Techniques

Short reports and summaries of tests of effectiveness for various bee bowl setups

Effect of Bowl size and Fluorescent Colors on the Numbers of Bees Captured

Painted Nectar guides vs. No Painted Nectar Guides

Fluorescent Yellow vs. Non-Fluorescent Yellow Bowls

Bowls left out for a short day vs 24 hours

Bowl spacing - 0m, 5m, 10m

Effect of using Laundry soap with Optical Brighteners vs. Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Bowl problems

We also established a listserver that you can join by sending a blank message to the following email address:

Past email conversations on bee monitoring can be read at the web site for the above listserv (

Information on the web-based data entry and automated identification will be added to this site when available.

Guidelines and Tips for Collecting and Processing Specimens using Pan Traps (Bee Bowls):

Processing wet specimens

Collecting guidelines

Tip Sheet for Using Bee Bowls

Photographing bees

Help with identification:

Sculpturing vocabulary with pictures

Bee Vocabulary

Test yourself with flip slides

Bee pronunciation

Links to Other Useful Sites:

Bumblebee guide to San Francisco

If you have any questions or would like to add something to the site, please contact Gretchen LeBuhn ( 415-847-0361