Australians back bumblebee pollination of Tasmanian tomato crops
The Australian federal government has agreed with a Senate committee recommendation to use Tasmania's feral bumblebee populations for a two-year trial for pollination purposes.
The inquiry, which was instigated by Tasmanian Labor Senator Anne Urquhart in 2016, sought to find out the risks and opportunities from using the state's bumblebee population for commercial horticultural purposes. It noted there was interest within the state's industry to use bumblebees to pollinate certain crops, like greenhouse tomatoes.
The inquiry found bumblebees had become established, either illegally or accidentally, in Tasmania in the mid-1990s though there was no evidence they were an established population in other states.