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Completed project

Australian pollination service statistics (HA21005)

Key research provider: AgEconPlus
Publication date: Friday, April 21, 2023

What was it all about?

From 2022 to 2023, this short project delivered the horticulture sector with a better understanding of current European honey bee and native stingless bee hive requirements. This information will enable the forecasting of hive demand based on industry growth, as well as highlight potential hive resource gaps and allow for adequate planning and prioritisation of research.

The research team collected information on the following:

  • European honey bee hives required for the Top 10 pollination-dependent horticultural industries, with differences recorded across growing systems.
  • Native stingless bee hive demand across Australia and targeted industries.
  • Estimated hive requirements for five-year and ten-year horizons for the horticultural industry.
  • Cost per hive (average) and issues that drive pricing.
  • Time of year and length of time hives are required with identified times of crop overlap.
  • The biggest issue(s) with hives received (e.g., quality, disease, or general management issues).
  • Impacts of climate variability/climate events on pollination service demand.

The study has shown that:

  • The Top 10 pollination-dependent horticultural industries required around 644,000 honey bee hives for pollination in 2021 and this is expected to grow to 867,000 hives in five-years and 952,000 hives in ten-years’ time. 
  • The average cost per honey bee hive supplied for pollination services varies from $50/hive to supply honey bees to macadamia to $160/hive for blueberry pollination and $225/hive for avocado pollination in Western Australia.
  • The cost of native stingless hives for pollination is typically $110/hive.
  • Peak demand for pollination services is in August and September.
  • At least one of the Top 10 pollination dependent horticultural crops requires pollination in each month of the year.