Pollination by Bumble Bees for Enhanced Clover Seed Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2008: $19,977.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sujaya Rao
Oregon State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: general silage crops
  • Additional Plants: native plants


  • Crop Production: intercropping
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, hedgerows, wildlife
  • Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, traps
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Sustainable Communities: public participation, sustainability measures, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Research Summary Red clover (Trifolium pratense L., family Fabaceae), is an important forage legume and rotation crop raised for seed in the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. A critical limitation in red clover seed production identified by growers is pollination. Like many other crops, pollen transfer in red clover is done primarily by bees. Currently, there is little information on bumble bee pollination in red clover and in other agricultural systems, as research efforts have largely focused on honey bees. As a result, this study seeks to enhance native bumble bee pollinators by promoting natural resource stewardship, crop diversification and optimizing on-farm resources allowing for sustainable and economic crop production. Furthermore, this research will introduce strategies that provide economic benefits to red clover producers through the increase of seed production.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Evaluate strategies for drawing native bumble bees to red clover fields. Compare the pollen loads on honey bees and bumble bees visiting red clover fields. Compare bumble bee populations in red clover fields and adjacent native habitats. Provide valuable new information on bumble bee pollinators in red clover seed production.
    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.