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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

Paul J. Johnson


Bees are an essential component of virtually every ecosystem but have been poorly studied in most of the United States, including South Dakota. The Black Hills has a high degree of historical and current anthropogenic disturbance and has the potential to serve as a model system for examining effects of environmental change and human influence on pollinator populations. This is the first biodiversity inventory of native bees in the Black Hills, with objectives of providing species occurrence records, accurate identification of all native bees, and documentation of floral visitations, all of which can assist in detecting future species composition change, and aide in further studies on pollinators, disturbances and climate change. Sampling sites were representative of natural and disturbed ecological communities with a focus on flower-rich meadows and habitat diversity over elevation gradients. In 2010 and 2011 approximately 21,910 bees were collected from 94 sites by a combination of pan trap and hand netting (ca. 88,000 trap-hours), 47 exclusively hand netting sites and 35 volunteer collecting sites, resulting in the collection of 297 species representing 40 genera, and 207 species not previously recorded in the region. In addition to 207 new records for the Black Hills, one species of Dianthidium was determined to be a new undescribed species. Thirty pan-traps per site were placed approximately every five meters and left for 24 hours to passively collect bees. Hand netting focused on flowers in bloom to provide host plant data. Results support implementation of a monitoring protocol for native pollinators using this inventory as a baseline data set. Analysis of pan trap capture data shows that size of bowl (5 ounce and 3.25 ounce) had an influence on number of bees captured. When comparing number of bees collected for each size, regardless of color, there was a significant difference (Large= 9670, Small= 8260, p = 6. 74225 E-09). Pan trap size also showed a significant difference in number of bees collected for large versus small for yellow (p = 7.71416 E-04) and white (p = 3.65734 E-07) with blue pan traps being the exception showing no significant difference (p = 0.69883). Large pan traps collected 174 bee species with 58 (33 %) of these being unique for that size of trap. Small pan traps collected 157 bee species of which 41 species (26 %) were unique for that size. The results of this analysis indicate that surveys would benefit from using a variety of sizes of pan trap.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Bees -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
Bees -- South Dakota
Bees -- Wyoming


Includes bibliographical references (pages 46-52)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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