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Ongoing project

Expansion of flies as berry crop pollinators (MT22007)

Key research provider: The University of New England (UNE)

What's it all about?

This investment is examining the role flies play in pollinating berry crops in the Coffs Harbour region of New South Wales to better inform future research into alternative managed pollinators.

Coffs Harbour is the major berry growing region of Australia and preliminary work has identified several flies that are effective pollinators. This project was initiated after the eradication activities of the 2022 varroa mite response, where access to managed and feral honey bees has been reduced.

The research will expand current understanding of flies in berry crops to determine the impact of different release and retention strategies on survival, distribution, foraging activity and pollination service delivery of Eristalis tenax, the impact of targeted placement of additional floral and non-floral resources and to devise methods to diversify and support future managed pollinator taxa in berry production. 

Expected outcomes of the research include the identification of optimal farm management practices that mitigate fly losses and improve pollination by flies, greater pollinator availability and longevity in time and space, year-round in berry crops and evaluation of the optimal composition/placement of co-flowering and other resources to facilitate crop pollination and pollinator health.

This project will expand the work conducted in the Hort Frontiers Pollination Fund investment Managing flies for crop pollination (PH16002) by collecting valuable data on a greater number of berry farms situated in the varroa red zone.