2017, Volume 20, Paper 11
ISSN: 2209-6612

Honeybee Pollination Services for the Australian Almond Industry

Danny Le Feuvre – Managing Director, Australian Bee Services, Ardrossan, and postgraduate student, Centre for Global Food and Resources, University of Adelaide, Adelaide.


Almonds (Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D. A. Webb) are a high value horticultural crop that rely almost exclusively on European honeybees (Apis. Mellifera) to produce nuts. The Australian almond industry is concentrated in the Riverland region of South Australia, the Sunraysia region of Victoria and the Riverina district of New South Wales. The rapid expansion of the industry has created speculation that there is a hive number shortage looming. Australia currently uses some 190,000 hives for almond pollination, which are sourced from all states on the eastern seaboard. Industry forecasts suggest that the demand for hives will increase to 300,000 by 2021 when industry plantings will reach its peak. Currently, there are 372,529 commercial hives registered in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. Whilst there are sufficient hives to service future almond pollination demand, there is only 50 per cent participation in pollination from beekeepers.

This article investigates the issues around almond pollination, short-term demand and supply and provides some recommendations to assist in solving the perceived imminent shortfalls in supply. Industry data have been collated from both the honeybee and almond industries to enable analysis of the true supply and demand issues around the provision of honeybees for pollination.

Key words: Honeybee; almond; pollination; apis. Mellifera; demand and supply; Prunus dulcis

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