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Ongoing project

Strengthening and enabling effective pollination for Australia (PH15000)

Key research provider: Plant and Food Research NZ

What’s it all about?

This project is delivering sustainable pollination services for Australian crops by improving the understanding of pollination requirements. It is also looking at key threats to honey bees and provide crop-specific resources to encourage growers to improve their pollination practices.

Information regarding best practice is currently limited for many crops and, in particular, little is understood about the degree to which crops are dependent on managed versus feral honey bees or other, unmanaged pollinators for this ecosystem service. Honey bee pests and diseases, including Varroa mite, have potential to dramatically alter ‘passive’ crop pollination. Therefore this research program aims to determine key pollinators across a range of Australian crops and provide pollination management recommendations to maximise sustainable yields and reduce risk of pollination failure.

The project has three main research areas:

  • Determining current pollination requirements to provide honey bee stocking rate recommendations

  • Identifying and developing management options for alternative pollinators to provide resilient services

  • Developing tools to aid honey bee health through new testing methods for American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae) and honey bee behaviours that confer resistance to Varroa mite.

The project is conducting field work involving the following crops:

  • Almond
  • Avocado
  • Blueberry
  • Lychee
  • Macadamia
  • Melon
  • Papaya.