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Project name Honey bee health and pollination under protected and contained environments
Funding bodies Horticulture Innovation Australia
Chief Investigators PhD Candidate Ryan Warren
Supervisors: Dr Geoff Allen, Dr Stephen Quarrell and Assoc/Prof Alistair Gracie
Ryan Warren

How does covered cropping affect bee health?

In Australia, maximising pollination in contained cropping environments with honey bees represents a significant challenge.

Although these systems protect produce from harmful agents such as birds, hail or unwanted cross pollination, the conditions can adversely impact the health of the bee hives.

TIA PhD Candidate Ryan Warren is using a ground-breaking radio frequency identification system to monitor the foraging activities of individuals bees and find ways to keep them healthy.

Small tags are attached onto the backs of bees and a scanner system mounted to the hive’s entrance detects the movement of bees in and out of their hive.

This data gives a clearer picture of a hive’s overall health and the complex plant-insect interactions experienced during crop pollination.

The outcomes of the project are set to transform how horticulturalists and apiarists interact not only in these systems but also in other cropping systems that utilise paid pollination services.