AgriFutures Australia invests in research, leadership, innovation and learning to support industries that do not have their own research and development function, new and emerging industries, and the issues that affect the whole of agriculture.
2023 Nuffield Scholar
NSW honey producer to explore global advances in bee pest management
Jackie Morrison has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study Integrated Pest Management and how it can support the Australian industry’s fight against Varroa destructor mite. The beekeeper and beef producer from the Northern Rivers Region of New South Wales is being supported in her study by AgriFutures Australia.
Jackie and her husband Luke Edwards run Honeyvale Farm in McLeans Ridges. It trades in honey, beeswax, pollination services and beekeeping education and mentorship, as well as a small mob of cattle. In the next two years, they plan to expand their business to include pecan and bushtucker production.
“With the recent incursion of Varroa destructor in NSW, I will focus my Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in beekeeping studies on Varroa mite in places with similar pathogen threats such as Small Hive Beetle, American Foul Brood and Tropilaelaps mite species,” Jackie says.
“The $14.6 billion Australian honey and pollination industries need solutions that will allow them to continue to operate when Varroa becomes endemic.”
She says Australia’s industry reputation is built on healthy honey bees and hive products free from chemical residues associated with Varroa treatments. Current and potential future solutions such as fungal and viral biocontrol agents, genetic resistance breeding programs, cultural and mechanical controls are being continuously updated internationally.
“Best practice IPM provides opportunities to improve apiary practices, surrounding agricultural and urban practices, use of varied pollinator species and potentially steering recreational beekeepers towards more suitable native bee species,” Jackie says.
Jackie is keen to travel to countries in Africa (especially South Africa and Kenya), Europe and North America. Jackie’s study supports the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council’s mission is to efficiently use resources to ensure a sustainable and prosperous industry, as well as the industry’s research priorities in pests and disease management.
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