by Graham et al.
|A Halictus bee visiting a cactus flower|
Bees and wasps perform many vital ecological roles. They provide pollination services to native plants and crops and can be used as indicators of habitat quality. Furthermore, wasps can control pest insects. Understanding which bees and wasps visit certain plants and crops (e.g., plant-pollinator interactions) can help identify insects that provide important crop pollination services, that may serve as biological control agents, and that have threatened populations. In order to understand potential environmental threats that may affect wild crop pollinators, managed pollinators, and pest control insects, monitoring programs and surveys need to be undertaken. In this review, we discuss the importance of 1) evaluating populations of threatened and endangered bee and wasp species, 2) identifying and evaluating pollinators of crops, 3) documenting wasp species for use as biological control agents, 4) surveying the ranges of non-native bees and wasps, and 5) utilizing bees and wasps as biological indicators of habitat quality. In addition to these topics, we also provide different methods or strategies that can be used to monitor bees and wasps. We hope that the information in this review can be used to begin or add to existing surveys and monitoring programs conducted by researchers, land managers, and citizen scientists.