Managing Solitary Cavity Nesting Bees for Cane Fruit in Oregon

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2009: $14,985.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Don Strurm
Sturm's Berry Farm Inc.
Dr. Karen Strickler
Pollinator Paradise

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Fruits: berries (other), berries (brambles)
  • Animals: bees


  • Education and Training: technical assistance
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, wildlife
  • Production Systems: general crop production


    Populations of the Oregon berry bee, Osmia aglaia, and the blue orchard bee, O. lignaria, have been increasing on our berry farm since 2008 despite two very cold, wet springs that reduced berry production and reduced bee populations in 2011. Fields with introduced and managed native pollinators have had better pollination than fields without managed native bees. Technical problems in getting a functional webcam were finally resolved in 2012, and we have had one successful season in which our technical advisor, cooperators and colleagues could watch native bees actively nesting and foraging in real time in our fields, as well as monitoring the timing of crop bloom and bloom of alternative forage for the bees. Their advice was very helpful in improving management of our bees in the 2012 foraging season.

    Outreach efforts included a blog about the project with webcam images from the 2012 season, open access to the webcam for anyone who was interested, a short article on our project for the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission (ORBC) in their spring 2011 newsletter, a presentation at the December meeting of the ORBC in Woodburn OR, and mention of our native bee pollination efforts on the Berri Health website, a company involved in research on the health effects of black raspberries and berry sales. In addition, this SARE-funded project has stimulated an additional cooperative effort with the Xerces Society and the USDA NRCS to plant native flowers that are now providing additional forage for native bee species and should contribute to even greater increases in native bee populations on the farm in the future. The NRCS has brought two bus loads of NRCS employees to our farm to see our pollination efforts. We hope to participate in a field day with the Xerces Society next season to showcase the various native pollinator projects on our farm.

    Project objectives:

    This project has three main objectives:

    1. To develop populations of native bees on our berry farm in Corbett, OR, particularly the Oregon berry bee, Osmia aglaia, as well as other native species that may contribute to berry pollination.

    2. To determine the feasibility and cost of using a webcam to get feedback from experts to help us manage populations of native bees during berry bloom.

    3. To increase awareness of berry growers and others of the existence and diversity of native bees and of simple ways to preserve and manage this resource. In addition we hope that the webcam will allow growers not included directly in the research to become involved and learn about berry pollination by native bees.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.