Dear pollination biologists,
I am planning a pollination study that will require a field assistant to help me record pollinator visitation rates. The plant I am using is visited by a wide variety of insects: halictid bees, megachilids, various flies (mostly bombyliid), and sometimes wasps. I don't expect to be able to make species-level identifications in the field or even (for most of the bees) genus-level identifications, but at a minimum I would like my assistant to be able to distinguish the different families. (I will be catching insects separately from the visitation observations so that I can find out what species are visiting my plants - I am hoping there will be just a few common ones!) Have any of you had field assistants do this sort of work in the past, and if so, how did you train them, how long did the training take, and how successful was it?
I will be grateful for any information you can share with me!
Department of Biology
University of California, Riverside