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Availability of mass flowering plants in landscapes dominated by agriculture can have a strong positive impact on the density of generalist, native pollinators. Row-crop production in Iowa accounts for 75% of the arable acres, with corn, Zea mays, representing the majority of hectares planted. To date, there has been no description of the insect pollinator community found within Iowa cornfields. We report a field study to determine the optimal sampling methodology to characterize the community of insect pollinators within cornfields. During 2012 and 2013, 3,616 insect pollinators representing 51 species were captured using bee bowls, and 945 individuals representing 10 species were captured using sticky cards. We examined the effects of trap type, height, and bowl color on the described community. Bee bowls captured a more abundant and species rich community than sticky cards with all species captured on sticky cards also present in bee bowls. Traps deployed at the height of the tassels describe a more abundant and species rich community of pollinators than traps at ear height (2x as many individuals) or ground height (4x as many individuals). Blue bowls captured more bees than white (2.75x as many individuals) or yellow bowls (3.5x as many individuals); and yellow bowls captured more flies than white (2x as many individuals) or blue (2.3x as many individuals). To provide the most complete description of the community of insect pollinators using cornfields as a resource, we suggest sampling-using bee bowls at the height of the tassels using all three bee bowl colors.
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Wheelock, M. J. and O'Neal, M. E., "Insect Pollinators in Iowa Cornfields: Community Identification and Trapping Method Analysis" (2016). Entomology Publications. 460.