All insect collecting or sampling at the UW–Madison Arboretum requires a permit or permission through the Research unit. This policy is designed to serve research questions and education goals, while protecting insect populations and conserving rare or listed endangered species (such as the rusty-patched bumble bee).
These methods are likely to be approved:
- Simple butterfly netting (e.g., of monarchs for tagging)
- Dragonfly netting
- Coth dragging (e.g., tick sampling)
- CO2 traps (e.g., mosquito sampling)
- Pit-fall traps for ground-dwelling insects
- Collecting eggs or larvae of species that are not federally or state-protected for educational displays or research
- Sticky traps
These methods may not be used:
- Blind sweep netting
- Blue vane traps
- Bee bowls
- Pan traps
- Malaise traps
These methods will be considered on a case-by-case basis:
- Netting from flowers or plants (especially if bees are present)
- Capturing bees in vials or vacuum devices
Because the Arboretum is a known habitat, and the outlying properties are either known habitat or close to known habitat, for the federally endangered rusty patched bumble bee, bumble bees cannot be handled without a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit. Other bee species should not be handled if the identification of the bee is not known.
Equipment and Practices
Sweep nets (usually made of sturdy fabric) are used to sample insect populations by “sweeping” the ground or other vegetation in a consistent pattern, without targeting specific individuals, and “butterfly” nets (usually made of light mesh) are generally used when an individual insect is the target.
It is important to avoid accidentally capturing bumble bees when netting insects with any kind of sampling equipment. Netting individual butterflies, moths, dragonflies, or beetles may be allowed, when it is certain that other insects will not be captured. If being done as part of educational activities, netting should be closely supervised by Arboretum staff (e.g., netting monarch butterflies to tag them).
Sweeping should not be done in areas where bumble bees may be present (especially rusty-patched bumble bees). This includes areas with forbs in bloom, and areas with appropriate ground nesting sites. Sweeping on lawns may be allowed if there are no flowers (such as creeping Charlie or clovers) in bloom on the lawn.
Visitors, school groups, classes, and camps may not use nets or capture insects at the Arboretum unless they are working closely with qualified Arboretum staff following best practices listed in this policy.