Feral honey bees – European bees which have escaped from hives into the wild – are surprisingly useful in Australia. They pollinate over 70% of crops that require pollination, like apples, pears, lucerne, melons, berries, canola. But with Varroa mite, a blood-sucking pest of bees, decimating the feral honey bee population globally, and set to invade Australia in the near future, what can be done to maintain pollination services?
Over the last few years, food production and processing have been embarking on the biggest change since the industrial revolution. Novel approaches that exploit robotics, machine learning, computer vision, epi-genetics and gene editing technologies are being used to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of food production.