BeeAware how to boost crop yields with honey bee pollination
A wide variety of crops are known to benefit from pollination by honey bees and BeeAware , a new site from Plant Health Australia, explains exactly how growers can gain maximum benefit from these helpful insects. According to Rod Turner, PHA’s Risk Management Manager, BeeAware is a comprehensive resource with a dual purpose. It helps beekeepers to keep hives healthy and helps farmers to understand the yield benefits that pollination by honey bees can bring. “The importance of pollination is often poorly understood. Pollen can be moved by various means, including wind, birds and other insects. But honey bees are the most important insect pollinator for a range of cultivated agricultural and horticultural crops,” said Mr Turner. “At the BeeAware website, farmers can find out how to boost yields by placing hives of honey bees near production areas. Crops that see the largest benefits include almonds, cherries, avocados, melons blueberries, some vegetables including onions, legumes, oilseeds, apples and macadamias.” Mr Turner said that wild bees pollinate a lot of crops at the moment, but should an exotic pest such as varroa mite gets through border controls and become established in Australia, their numbers would drop and with it, crop yields. Some, but not all, crops depend on pollination to get good yields of fruit or seeds.
“Our strong biosecurity system has so far protected us from many of the pests of bees that have hit hives hard overseas. But pollination experts agree that if one of these pests should make it into the country, farmers will increasingly need to use commercial honey bee pollination services.” Existing pests like small hive beetle, which are uncontrolled in wild bee populations, already reduce pollination of crops in some areas. The site includes information on how beekeepers can manage them to keep apiaries healthy. The site was developed by a partnership between the Australian Government, the honey bee industry and pollinator-reliant industries through the Pollination Program which is managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Horticulture Australia Limited
Visit the BeeAware website at www.beeaware.org.au
For more information, contact Cathy Frazer on 0423 000963 or at email@example.com
Plant Health Australia (PHA) is the national coordinator of the government-industry partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia. As a not-for-profit company, PHA services the needs of its Members and independently advocates on behalf of the national plant biosecurity system. PHA’s efforts help minimise plant pest impacts, enhance Australia’s plant health status, assist trade, safeguard the livelihood of producers, preserve environmental health and amenity, and support the sustainability and profitability of plant industries and the communities that rely upon them. www.planthealthaustralia . com.au