Yellow Pan Trap Experiment

Finding chalcid wasps is as easy as using small yellow bowls filled with soapy water, in fact this technique is even what the pros use!

The following experiment aims to investigate the diversity of Hymenoptera in different habitats (grass field versus flowers, dripping faucet, desert, chaparral, concrete, native flora, etc). This experiment uses pan traps, which are a small yellow bowls with water and a drop of soap, supplied to teachers by UCR (contact- John Heraty). This experiment would be conducted by groups of students and results combined across each class. Ideally, teachers would present the “Biodiversity Module” presentation" before this pan trap experiment. Teachers have the following resources available for this pan trap study:

Teacher instructions
including a list of materials needed, before class preparations, and details about conducting the experiment Word Document
Pan trap experiment worksheet
explaining methodology and questions for students to answer Word Document
Pan trap experiment supply list
explaining what teachers will need to obtain for their class Word Document
A slide presentation
to present to students before they carry out the experiment recapping ideas about biodiversity, introducing students to pan traps, explaining the methodology to the pan trap experiment, and giving some example results Powerpoint
A one page identification key
with photos listing major points for identifying between predators, pollinators and parasitoids to supplement the pan trap experiment Pdf
A study box
containing pinned dead insects of different groups of Hymenoptera that may be captured in pan traps to aid identification. The study box contains R&Q codes leading to more information and photos that students can access with their smartphones See more
"Wanted" poster
Keep an eye out for these parasitic wasps in your collections! If you find these natural enemies its a sign that the area where they were collected is doing a great job at sheltering and hosting these “vigilantes” of the garden. A balanced, diverse environment, that is rich in parasitic wasps, will help naturally suppress pest populations, decreasing the need to apply pesticides around your home and school! Pdf