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Ongoing project

Managing flies for crop pollination (PH16002)

Key research provider: Western Australian Agriculture Authority

What’s it all about?

This investment is looking into the potential of using flies as alternative crop pollinators, including looking at the effectiveness of specific species in pollinating avocado, berry (blueberry, raspberry and strawberry), hybrid carrot seed and brassica seed crops. The work is part of the Hort Frontiers Pollination Fund, and includes funding from a range of sources, including through the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund.

Potential benefits of flies as alternate pollinators to bees include;

  • Different fly species mean that flies can be present all year round
  • Flies have high sugar demand and naturally visit flowers for nectar
  • Flies are hairy and so can pick up and move pollen
  • Flies can be readily mass-reared with reasonable minimal inputs and do not sting workers.

The project is first identifying the best candidate fly species for various crops via surveys of field populations of flies visiting crops at the time of flowering. Once the fly species and their crop preferences have been determined, the project will then focus on developing novel technologies to mass rear candidate fly species for use in horticultural settings.