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Rural women investigate pollinators at Vittoria

The power of pollinators in agriculture and the environment was the focus for the latest Women in Productive Pastures and Landscapes Network event hosted by Central Tablelands Local Land Services.

The ‘Investigating Pollinators’ field day took place at Belinda Hanks’ property ‘Keirmont’ at Vittoria between Bathurst and Orange, taking advantage of Belinda’s extensive garden which is ideal for attracting native pollinators.

Guest speaker and native bee researcher, Dr Megan Halcroft, was guest speaker on the day and shared her passion for native bees and the need to preserve and protect habitat for other natural pollinator species such as native wasps, beetles, flies, butterflies, ants and moths, as well as animals such as birds, bats and small marsupials.

Native pollinators provide crucial free services for agriculture and the environment, but Megan warned land clearing and housing development are removing flowers from the landscape and destroying the food sources pollinators need to survive.

“We need to rethink our flowerless landscapes and start adding floral resources to land management strategies to support native bees and other pollinator populations,” said Megan.

“Australian agriculture currently relies on European honey bees far too much at a time when around the world honey bee populations are in danger of collapse due to disease risks and other environmental threats.

We need to make better use of native bees as pollinators as they are less susceptible to common honey bee diseases and can better cope with local climatic conditions.”

“Crops such as apples, cherries, raspberries, canola, all rely on insect pollinators. If we fail to protect these species, then agricultural production will plummet, particularly if we have an outbreak of varroa mite in Australian honey bee colonies.”

A decline in pollinator populations would also have devastating consequences for valuable wildflowers and native plants.

Pam Day, who runs cattle and goats at Hartley Vale, was one of a large crowd of women involved in agriculture who took part in the field day.

“I thoroughly enjoyed Megan’s presentation. I have green corridors and under storey areas on my property, and Megan’s talk has given me more information about why these areas are so important for insects like native bees,” said Pam.

The Women in Productive Pastures and Landscapes Network is supported by Central Tablelands Local Land Services to assist women in strengthening their skills, knowledge and engagement in productive and sustainable pastures and agriculture.

For more information about the Network phone Clare Edwards on: 02 6333 2300 or 0428 435 615.

Media enquiries: Kylie Krause | 0439608370