The honey bee arrived in Australia 190 years ago, and is now part of an industry worth billions of dollars, but native pollinators, including bees, ants, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths and flying foxes also play an important role as pollinators in healthy native ecosystems, as well as in agriculture and horticulture. And it’s the local pollinators that are the focus of Pollination Week, which starts on Sunday.
Does pollination really need its own week? Dr Amy-Marie Gilpin says yes.
“Mainly when people think about pollinators, they go straight to the European honey bee,” she says. “It’s important to understand the range of native pollinators and their role and how we can conserve them because they are super-important for everything in our way of life.”
Gilpin is part of a research project at Western Sydney University looking at securing pollination within agro-ecosystems now and into the future. Her particular focus is on how climate change will affect pollinators. She is looking at what elevated carbon dioxide does to the production of pollen and nectar in eucalypts, the main source of food for pollinators around the country.