8 Sep 2009

Pressure on bee population discussed at meeting

7:35 am on 8 September 2009

Bee industry and horticultural interests are meeting in Auckland on Tuesday to discuss a research strategy to ensure the survival of honey bees and the pollination services they provide.

Honey bees are the main pollinators of fruit and vegetable crops and pollinate the clover in pasture on farms.

But beekeepers' ability to meet the increasing demand for pollination services is under pressure because of the varroa mite which kills the bees in untreated hives.

Dr Mark Goodwin of the Plant and Food Research Institute's bee research unit is co-ordinating the meeting.

He says they'll look at the prospects for getting funding from the Government's new Primary Growth Partnership fund.

Dr Goodwin says finding sustainable long-term ways of controlling varroa also has to be on the research agenda.