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Ongoing project

Supporting the health and expansion of the Australian stingless bee industry (PH22004)

Key research provider: Western Sydney University

What's it all about?

This investment is supporting the health and expansion of the Australian stingless bee industry by improving understanding of stingless bee nutrition, pathogens, mass reproduction and pollination efficacy for different crop species and cropping environments.

The research will determine the nutritional preferences and requirements of stingless bees before, during and after crop pollination by identifying pollen species and nutrients in the pollen and nectar that foragers bring back to the hive and provision to brood.

The research team will test developing and commercially-available nutritional supplements for stingless bees, including methods of providing supplements to hives, and whether supplementation can improve crop pollination. They will also investigate the main pests, pathogens and pesticides that can interact with stingless bees and explore methods to mitigate their spread and impact.

In addition, the project team will conduct a systematic literature review of pollination efficacy, gaps and opportunities for stingless bees across established and emerging horticultural crops.

Finally, in partnership with stingless beekeepers and growers, the research will test methods to improve hive reproduction rates and pollination by manipulating hive management, as well as hive stocking rates, timing and location of deployment in six crops with opportunities to improve.