Engaging the horticulture sector with native bee pollinators

  • 6 pages

  • Published: 17 May 2024

  • Author(s): Tim Heard

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Australian native bees play an important and often undervalued role pollinating plants and crops, many of which can’t be pollinated by introduced species. Forecast increased demand for pollination services from crop industries, particularly given the establishment of the varroa mite in Australia, is likely to further stimulate the native bee industry.

This anticipated growth and the environmental importance of native bees was the impetus for this project, which delivered the science of native bees and crop pollination to growers of pollinator-dependant crops. Ten face-to-face workshops were delivered to 272 growers of both emerging and levied horticultural crops in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

Through lectures and live demonstrations, the workshops shared information on identification, biology and management of native bee species that are known pollinators of Australian crops. The workshops also covered ecological approaches for supporting wild and managed native bees in agricultural landscapes.

The workshops built understanding and created opportunities for growers to use native bees as pollinators, leading to benefits for both the native bee industry and the emerging and levied horticultural crop industries.