Do wasps have favorite colors? (What color pan traps are best?)

New article out today on how different color pan traps can be better or worse for capturing different Hymenoptera species and surveying insect biodiversity.

The overall finding is that yellow pan traps get more species and individuals, but certain species show fidelity to other colors and are unlikely to show up if you only sample with yellow pan traps.

It looks most pronounced in the bees (Anthophila) compared to other taxa, but it looks like to get a full picture of especially pollinator diversity, adding blue, fluorescent blue, and white can help get a better sense of true pollinator diversity.

Pan traps are pretty easy to make, just colored plastic party bowls filled with water and a drop of dish soap. I’ve used them before to get specimens for my collection and to post on iNaturalist, but I’ve only used yellow bowls. Have you used other colors? Have you seen any differences?


I’ve only ever used them to capture fruit flies. In my apartment. Because I want to kill them … because I really should have thrown out those bananas a week ago huh.
I use white bowls because the bowls in my apartment are white P:


In my pan trappings, certain species like certain colors, probably based on the colors of their preferred host plants. I recommend yellow, blue, and red in that order of best to fewest.

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I completely understand what you mean.

Also, I am definitely going to try to capture fruit flies, and these pesky small brown beetles in the family apartment, with this method!

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Could this then be the perfect bowl to use for trapping all insects?

oh wait… that’s a Lawn Bowls bowl… it would probably “bowl over” more bugs than most? :)

Maybe one of these:

I’ve long known that yellow and blue clothing worn in the field does attract more bugs, particularly wasps… cool to see actual science related to it!


remember to include one that also has patterns in the UV range!

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I apologise, getting massively off-topic…

based on the world conference of mosquitoes being held the last few days around my bright yellow hat, it would seem they’re a fan of yellow too


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