Identifying Pollinator Species of Indiana Soybean Fields and Their Potential Contributions to Yield

Brooke Dennis, Purdue University


Indiana has a wide array of native pollinators, but where they are foraging and their pollination role, if any, in Indiana soybean fields is unclear. In two Indiana soybean fields sampled in 2016, a total of 33 pollinator species and 1,180 individuals from five different families (Andrenidae, Collectidae, Syrphidae, Apidae and Halictidae) were collected in a transect line including bee bowls at varying distances (0m, 5m, 10m, 25m, 50m, 100m and 250m). Species richness and abundance was similar across the varying bee bowl distances with soybean growth stage R2 and R3 collecting the most individuals and species totals. Field experiments had two treatments: caged soybeans which excluded pollinators and uncaged soybeans which allowed pollinator access. Soybean yield parameters such as 3 seeded pods (F1, 96 = 2.58, P = 0.11) and seed weight (F 1, 96 = 2.82, P = 0.10) were not significantly different between caged and uncaged plants in the field setting. However, weight per seed was significantly higher for caged soybeans compared to uncaged soybeans (F1, 96 = 16.74, P < 0.001). Greenhouse artificial pollination techniques were not statistically different from one another in terms of yield. Although many native pollinators are foraging within the monoculture of soybeans, I found no evidence that soybean yields are affected by pollinators in the field.




Krupke, Purdue University.

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