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Evaluating bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) diversity using Malaise traps in coffee landscapes of Costa Rica

  • H.T. Ngo (a1), J. Gibbs (a2), T. Griswold (a3) and L. Packer (a4)


Even though Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica Linnaeus, Rubiaceae) can self-pollinate, bees are important pollinators, without which there is lower fruit quality and yield. We studied bee diversity in coffee agroecosystems in Costa Rica during two coffee flowering seasons (2005 and 2006). Malaise traps were used as a passive sampling method to collect bees during coffee blooms. We collected 1012 bee individuals from three different site types: nonagricultural fields and shaded and unshaded coffee farms. Unshaded coffee farms had significantly higher species richness (S) and number of bee individuals (n) than did the shaded coffee farms and nonagricultural sites. Overall bee diversity did not differ among site types but evenness (J′) was significantly lower in unshaded coffee farms. Using a more detailed community analysis, there was a significant association between functional groups and habitat type with more species and individuals of small-bodied ground-nesting bees (Lasioglossum (Dialictus) Robertson) associated with unshaded coffee farms. A large proportion (49%) of bees collected were of this subgenus, which was never before reported as common in coffee agroecosystems. Further studies should establish whether Dialictus is important in coffee pollination. We propose strategies involving conservation of native bees through simple habitat management for small-scale coffee farms that may improve crop quality and quantity.

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Corresponding author

1Corresponding author (e-mail: Subject editor: Christophe Praz


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