Optimizing low-cost sampling of pollinator insects in oilseed rape fields

Xiao Yu Shi, Michael Orr, Arong Luo, Ming Qiang Wang, Pengfei Guo, Qing Song Zhou, Zeqing Niu, Huijie Qiao, Yi Zou, Chao Dong Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Insects are key pollinators to ecosystem function, but much work remains to determine the most cost-effective, reliable scheme to monitor them. Pan traps (PT) and flight interception traps (FIT) are two of the most popular insect sampling methods used. However, their relative sampling performance and cost is poorly known for agroecosystems in China. We conducted a study across 18 oilseed rape fields in smallholder farmland in Zhejiang, China using these two traps. Our results showed that a single FIT had a greater sampling efficiency (more individuals and higher species richness) than a single PT, but controlling for cost, four PTs (the cost for four PTs is close to one FIT) showed a greater sampling efficiency than FITs. PTs collected more small-bodied individuals while FITs and PTs did not significantly differ in terms of monitoring pollinator insects with large body size. When exploring whether semi-natural habitat embedded in the agricultural landscape affected these results, results from both trap types shows that semi-natural habitat had a significant positive impact on wild pollinator diversity and rarefied species richness. Future studies that examine the effects of agricultural landscape on the wild pollinator community should combine PTs with netting or other active methods for long-term wild pollinator monitoring strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1155458
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • flight interception trap
  • mass-flowering crop
  • pan trap
  • pollinator diversity
  • pollinator monitoring
  • smallholder farmland
  • window trap


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