Trap assembly is self-evident. The two vanes fit together only one way, and then the tabs slide through the slots in the funnels. Funnels screw onto a standard US type 110/400 plastic jar with 5 threads per inch.

Traps should be placed according to the zone where you are working and the target species you intend to monitor. Traps can be just placed on the ground but should be anchored, other wise they can be attached to a stake by using a large hose clamp, or hung with a twist tie from a pole. A low-cost pole can be made by bending (gently or with a proper bending tool) a green poly/metal garden stake.

To catch live pollinators, use empty traps but monitor them often. Use 10 cm deep soapy water to retain specimens. Rinse and preserve with at least 70% isopropanol for good specimens. For traps left for longer periods with high temperatures, use auto windshield wash antifreeze, which can be diluted if concentrated. Alternatively, propylene glycol with a couple of drops of dish soap will also work. Do not use auto antifreeze (ethylene glycol) as it is toxic.

The blue vane traps are for scientific research only.

Please do not trap native pollinators without a pressing scientific cause. These traps are highly effective and use in early spring will remove critical queen pollinators from their habitats.

Jul 14, 2021 • Blue vane traps are used to passive collect bees and other flower-visiting insects. Nash Turley leads a quick tutorial on deploying blue vane traps in the field including putting them together, hanging them up, and adding soapy water. Then after they've been left in the field for a day it is time to filter out the bees with a brine shrimp net and put the specimens in a jar with alcohol, don't forget a proper label! Video courtesy of Nash Turley.

We have had recent reports that the through-tabs are not staying in place. The trap was originally designed to hold a full 2 liter container without detaching. We investigated this issue and made repairs to the injection mold. New inventory ought to be capable of supporting 2+kg without detaching.

If you have older inventory, a quick fix is to place about a 3 cm piece of round toothpick or some other small shim behind the two tabs on one vane (the one with the slot furthest from the funnel which will hold in the second vane). This should keep the vanes attached.

Please check your funnels and vanes with a UV lamp each season to ensure that the UV pigment is still present. The fluorescence is a function of the molecular configuration of the pigment, which absorbs ultraviolet light and reflects it back at a +50mn higher wavelength (e.g. the fluorescent phenomena). The compound can be destroyed by UV light and once the vanes no longer fluoresce, catches will diminish.

Background literature

There are now about 6,800 publications on using blue vane traps. The original discovery of the usefulness of blue vane traps for monitoring pollinators was published in 2005 by the late Bill Stephen and Sujaya Rao:

Stephen, William P., and Sujaya Rao. “Unscented Color Traps for Non-Apis Bees (Hymenoptera: Apiformes).” Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 78, no. 4 (2005): 373–80.

The science behind the phenomenon was published in 2018:

Ostroverkhova, O., Galindo, G., Lande, C. et al. Understanding innate preferences of wild bee species: responses to wavelength-dependent selective excitation of blue and green photoreceptor types. J Comp Physiol A 204, 667–675 (2018).