Our research is identifying methods to protect existing insect pollinators and developing alternative pollination methods.
Healthy bee populations are vital for pollination; however, in recent years bee populations have been threatened by a variety of pests and diseases. Our pollination research brings together several disciplines, including plant physiology, insect behaviour and ecology to address the pest and disease issues that threaten honey bees and to develop new pollination systems to safeguard food production.
We are working with beekeepers to develop enhanced controls for varroa mite, including:
- Developing honey bee stock with resistance to varroa
- Developing alternatives to synthetic chemical controls of varroa – including biological controls
- Establishing resistance strategies for synthetic control products
- Improving application methods for organic control products
- Improving hive management practices to increase the effectiveness of varroa controls.
We are actively involved in pollination research designed to enhance and support the arable and horticultural industries by investigating:
- Artificial pollination methods for a range of fruit and seed crops
- Native insects as alternative pollinators
- Methods to increase bee pollination.
Additional apiculture products and services available from Plant & Food Research include:
- Honey bee assessments
- Honey bee pest and disease diagnosis
- Bee attractants & repellents
- Sample testing for the American Foulbrood
- Bee behaviour
- Pollination assessments
- Pesticide testing
- Testing the effect of pesticides on honey bees
- Feral bee eradication
- Honey bee queens
- Artificial insemination
- Seminars, workshops, technical articles, videos and manuals
- American foulbrood training programmes
- Varroa training programmes
- Honey bee and pollination manuals
- Regulatory activities
- Preparing honey bee disease and pest risk assessments
- Preparation and review of registration packages
- Overseas consultancies
- Training laboratory staff (Solomon Islands and Fiji)
- Training for disease control and pollination (Chile, Italy and Australia)
- Biosecurity (Hawaii and Australia).