2022 was a very successful year for the monitoring of insects and pollinators all across our European Farmer Clusters. Our farmers and scientists were out in force to monitor different species and record their results, with over 550 pan-traps collected from our Austrian cluster in just 4 months. This blog records some more of the amazing achievements of our farmers and scientists this year in their insect and pollinator monitoring.
Beginning with our Austrian cluster, this was a bumper year with Raja Imran Hussain conducting pollinator surveys in May, June and July.
After careful selection of BHC, BOKU started their pollinator sampling in May 2022. During a steady and constant pace walk, they counted all butterflies and bumblebee individuals within the virtual detection box. For bumblebees´ sampling, they took a 2 m distance on either side and 4 m distance ahead and above, while for butterflies 2.5 m distance on either side, and 5 m distance ahead and above. They did sampling between 10 am and 5 pm during optimal weather conditions (i.e. sunshine, no rain, temperature between 15-30 o C). If on-spot identification of the butterfly was not possible, then the butterfly was captured via sweep net and viewed in the glass box. Bumblebees were collected and identification was done under the microscope if difficult to identify in the transect.
Pan-traps were positioned at fixed locations in each square. They placed three pan traps per farm square in such a way that the insect samples we collected are the representative of the habitats present within the farm square. Since they had large diverse clusters a total of 48 pan traps were placed having 3 pan traps per farm square. The pan traps were placed for 24 hours in the optimal weather condition. The insect samples were taken and stored in 70 % ethanol for later identification.
They sampled syrphids, heteropteran bugs and grasshoppers in abandoned, intensive and extensive meadows in May-July 2022 and continued it till August 2022. In total, 576 (3 pan traps stations, 3 pan trap per station x 16 BHC x 4 months) pan traps were collected. Samples were filtered, marked and stored in ethyl alcohol for future identification.
The following image represents a poster presented on 3rd Farmer Cluster workshop showing the preliminary results of pollinators monitoring in control and cluster farms of BOKU FC for the year 2022.
In Luxembourg, the biodiversity monitoring activities (including pollinators transects and pan trapping) began on May 1st. All the pan trapping activities and the pollinators transects surveys were done according to the Framework protocol because the weather conditions were suitable for insects in 2022.
Biodiversity monitoring with camera traps started in September 2022. The farmers were invited to host 2 camera traps in their orchards. They oversee the maintenance of the traps with the collection of the pictures taken. The farmers are now actively involved in the collection of data with an easy and non-time-consuming protocol. LIST hope this action will get their attention on the biodiversity that is not always expected in their orchards. The first results of this action are foreseen in January 2023 and if the farmers are involved and ready to continue this action, it is planned to buy new camera traps to be installed in the orchards for the entire year of 2023.
Finally, in Spain, the pollinator surveys were carried out by FA in May, June and July 2022. The butterfly-bumblebee transects, and pan traps were completed following the pollinators pan-trap and transect protocol. The insect transects were conducted at the same place as those used for the birds monitoring, though in the former each transect is divided in segments of 50 meters (10 segments by transect).
The monitoring was conducted on: May 18, 19 and 20, 2022 (experimental area) and 23 and 24, 2022 (control area) for the first round; June 15 and 20, 2022 (experimental) and 21, 23 and 24, 2022 (control) for the first round; July 7 and 12, 2022 (experimental) and 12 and 14, 2022 (control) for the first round.
A total of 40 pan-traps were installed, being active for 24 hours, three times. The samples gathered were sent to the University of Córdoba (UCO), where a professional entomologist (Rafael Alcalá Herrera), professor and researcher conducted analysis.