Researchers from Western Sydney University conducted trials using native Australian bees to pollinate strawberries in sealed environments, a challenge that honey bees are ill equipped to handle. The sting-less bee species Tetragonula carbonaria were shown to thrive in the glasshouses and produced an abundant crop.
“Australia is home to around 2000 species of native bees as well as thousands of species of pollinating moths, flies, butterflies, birds and even bats that all contribute to native and managed ecosystem pollination”, said Prof James Cook, Western Sydney University’s lead scientist of the pollination research program.
The research is part of a national effort to find effective closed environment pollination solutions. The unpredictable nature of the Australian climate combined with unsustainable land practices is pressuring researchers to find solutions for our ecosystem dependent food industries. Demand for local, safe and sustainable food has never been more critical and native bees, while not the bee all and end all solution to the climate crises are providing some insight into how we should behave when it comes to agriculture.