pan trapping for insects

Gail E. Kampmeier gkamp at UIUC.EDU
Mon Mar 6 10:25:58 CST 2000

I don't know about the bees, but in our experience with aphids, different
species may react differently to different colors, although yellow is often
the most attractive.  One thing you want to watch out for, however, is that
all colors as perceived by humans do not necessarily carry the same
spectral reflectance over the broader range (300-800 nm).  Painted
surfaces, for example, have a high intensity in the color that you see
reflected, but are flat elsewhere.  I seem to remember that plastic
surfaces may be similar.  Green ceramic tiles, on the other hand, can more
closely mimic the spectra of leaves, showing the greens in the proper
place, but also reflecting highly or not in areas where our eyes are not
sensitive.  This difference is seen in trap catches, where similar-looking
greens of different types will trap radically different numbers of aphids.
I would advise you to test whatever you do with a spectrophotometer.

One other question you should ask yourself is what you are trying to
accomplish by using colored pans.  Are you trying to attract bees by the
color, or remain neutral with respect to some background?  Moerike wrote
many papers on color vision and insects (written in German, but many have
been translated), and Jim Kring did a fair amount with aphids as well.

Good luck!

>I'm about to start a project using different colored pan traps to collect
>bees and other Hymenoptera. I have talked to Rozen, Parker ,and Michener
>already but I wanted to know what other folks had to say.  Does anyone
>have any experience with these types of traps? What has been your
>experience?  Can anyone point me in the right direction for literature on
>this topic?
>You can respond to me directly or to the list.
>Thanks in advance,
>Phillip Russell
>Department of Biology
>Pjruss73 at
>Stuart M Fullerton ROF, Research Associate in charge of Arthropod
>Collections (UCFC), Dept. of Biology, University of Central Florida, PO
>Box 162368, Orlando, Florida, 32816-2368, USA. stuartf at
>(407) 823-6540 (no voice mail)

Gail E. Kampmeier, Research Entomologist, Illinois Natural History Survey,
Box 5 NSRC, MC-637, 1101 W. Peabody, Urbana, IL 61801 USA
ph. 217-333-2824; fax 217-333-6784; email: gkamp at

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