The Oregon Department of Agriculture has launched the Oregon Bee Project to help improve and ensure the health of 500-plus native species of bees that pollinate many of our crops. This program will include field research, public outreach and education, and the creation of an Oregon Bee Farm Certification to reward farmers who adopt bee-friendly practices.
They are looking for six flagship farms that already have suitable pollinator habitat. Part of the evaluation process is setting out traps to get an idea of what native bees are present on these farms. And to that end, Sarah Kincaid, entomologist with the ODA paid our farm a visit and put out three blue vane traps. These traps were developed for trapping beetles but Oregon State University researcher Dr. Sujaya Rao soon noticed that they were effective on bees as well especially bumble bees. The one drawback of the blue vane traps is they tend to under sample the smaller bees.
Yes the traps do kill the bees, however in the name of science, researches need to know what species are currently on the farm and what food sources are found nearby. I am excited to get the results and as the months progress, I will keep you posted on what they find. In the meantime, if you want to brush up on your bee identification, check out ODA’s Common Bee Pollinators of Oregon Crops.