D0029 Enlisting citizen scientists to examine the influence of landscape on native and exotic coccinellids in Ohio: The Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz

Monday, December 14, 2009
Hall D, First Floor (Convention Center)
Bethany Hunt , Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Mary M. Gardiner , Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH
Lady beetles (Coccinellidae) are key predators which provide biocontrol services within natural and managed habitats. Following the introduction and establishment of exotic lady beetles in the U.S., a notable decline in several native lady beetle species has been detected. Being that lady beetles are a beneficial group of insects, there is a great deal of public interest and concern over the decline of native species. Our goal was to engage volunteers to census current coccinellid populations across Ohio through the formation of a citizen science program called The Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz. To collect lady beetle data, volunteers were provided toolkits containing yellow sticky card traps, a step-in fence post, sampling instructions, a lady beetle identification card, data sheets, and pre-paid mailing envelopes. Volunteers collected lady beetle data twice during the summer, in mid-June and mid-August from residential food or flower gardens. Following sample collection, volunteers determined the diversity and abundance of beetles collected and both data sheets and sticky traps were mailed to OSU and examined for accuracy. Using addresses provided by volunteers, GPS coordinates were determined for each garden location and the landscape surrounding each site was classified using the USDA cropland data layer at spatial scales of 0.5-5 km. Trap catches were related to the composition and heterogeneity of the landscape surrounding each garden. We will use this information to promote lady beetle conservation with the help of our network of volunteer citizen scientists.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.42936