Colorado has a huge diversity of native bees. With nearly 1,000 different species of bees, we need a number of different types of techniques to determine which bees are present in an area. We use three primary means of capturing adult bees as the forage across the plains: bee bowls (left) are small colored cup that we fill with soapy water. These traps sample many of the smaller bee species in the area. We mount them on rebar so we can adjust their height as the grass grows over the season. Vane traps (right) are really effective at capturing large-bodied bees. We also get a number of different wasp species (an added bonus). We also use handheld nets (not pictured) to catch bees that are foraging on nearby flowers. Finally, we place bamboo nests (center) along the edges of fields to catch bees that like to nest in hollow stems and wood. This can allow us to see not only what bees are in the area, but also look at the pollen that they feed their young to determine the most important flowers for native bees.
I am a researcher at CU-Boulder leading a USDA funded project looking at native bee diversity in agricultural landscapes of eastern Colorado. Please enjoy your visit and contact me if you have any questions.