For bees and other wildlife, a stretch of sand is a land of plenty

Image of researcher with net standing in front of sand dune.

(Chesapeake Bay Program) Near a swampy forest littered with trash, two biologists went searching for insects. A chance of rain had dampened their morning prospects, but with the temperature climbing, the mild afternoon in March held the chance that their target species would be active: ground-nesting bees and tiger beetles. “Sand habitats are a cornerstone of where we go to look for rare things, but also should be the cornerstone of conservation.”

Rolled cardboard makes a handy insect-sampling tool

Image of rolled cardboard trap tied to tree.

(Entomology Today) Collecting information on insects and other small arthropods is time-consuming and expensive. The methods used to collect arthropods living in the microhabitats of trees can be especially challenging – and destructive. But a group of Israeli researchers have developed a simple and seemingly effective arthropod trap: rolled-up tubes of corrugated cardboard tied to trees with string. They captured numerous types of insects including cockroaches, spiders, wasps and bees.

Invest in pollinator monitoring for long-term gain

Image of strawberries next to a free-standing hedgerow

(The Niche, pg. 10) Despite urgent need, monitoring insect pollinators, especially wild bees and hover flies, has often been considered too expensive to implement at a national scale. A research team is studying how to improve pollinator monitoring in the UK in a cost-effective manner. This research examines hidden benefits of monitoring schemes. By pooling data and expertise from a wide range of resources, the costs of schemes have been estimated to be between £5,600 ($6,900) for a small volunteer-led scheme collecting basic data and £2.8 million ($3.5 million) per year for professional monitoring of both pollinating insects and pollination to the UK’s crops. Overall, for every £1 invested in pollinator monitoring schemes, at least £1.50 can be saved from costly, independent research projects.

eDNA provides researchers with ‘more than meets the eye’

Image of woman collecting soil.

(Curtin University) Researchers from Curtin University have used next generation DNA sequencing to learn more about the different species of plants, insects and animals present in the Pilbara and Perth regions of Western Australia. As animals and organisms interact with their environment, they leave behind traces of their DNA through things like droppings, skin cells, saliva, and pollen. “This study was the first of its kind to systematically test terrestrial substrates for eDNA, and it also was the first time that some of these particular substrates were analyzed.”

MSU researchers collaborate with one-room schoolhouses to collect bee data

Image of one-room schoolhouse in Montana.

(TriState Livestock News) “We are in year two of a 15-year project to document the 500 to 1,000 species of native bees in Montana.” But to examine all 147,000 square miles of the state would require significant manpower, and to fill that need, an unlikely partnership was created. The researchers put together boxes that included curriculum and bee-sampling tools and sent them to one-room schoolhouses across the state.

New bee inventory sheds light on what native bees live in northern New Mexico

Image of woman collecting bees in desert.

(The Bees in Your Backyard) Olivia Carril and the Institute for Applied Ecology are inventorying the bees of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (RGNM) in New Mexico. Before the start of this project in 2016, fewer than 40 bee species were known to exist in Taos County. Now, initial results have identified at least 140 species and 32 genera of bees in the monument area.