Held at Tocal College just north of Newcastle, this workshop was the last one for 2023. Funded by Agrifutures, The Department of Primary Industries NSW, supported by ANBA and presented by Tim Heard, these workshops have been aimed at providing farmers with better information on crop pollination using native bees.
Free to attendees, the workshop attracted 30 very keen participants, from farmers to experienced native bee keepers. Some honey bee people attended looking to grow their knowledge of the native stingless bees. European Honey Bee hobbyists and professionals have taken a big hit this year with the impact of Varroa mite and the eradication program wiping out their colonies and experiencing a collapse in sales.
Some farmers are looking for alternatives to Honey bees for pollination. Native bees may not be able to replace the level of pollination on some crops but they maybe be able to assist, along with many other insects.
One of the ongoing challenges is actually making farmers aware of alternative pollinators like native bees. It’s surprising, or maybe not surprising that the majority of the population are unaware that we even have native bees.
Workshop outline: “Increase the yield of your horticultural crops by boosting number of native bee pollinators. / Bees, their biology, life cycle, social life, nesting and foraging behaviour, / Flower structure, biology, and pollination of relevant local crops / Managing your farm agroecosystem to protect and encourage native bees / Propagation and management of native stingless bee hives on farms “