Australian Pollinator Week starts next month and this year it’s all about understanding pollinator diversity.
Many people know about the important role honey bees play in pollinating crops, but there are many more unsung heroes of pollination including beetles, flies, butterflies, moths and native bees, creatures whose contribution is often overlooked.
A nine-day festival aims to reverse this lack of understanding of Australia’s diverse pollinators, with activities including Pollinator Picnics, webinars, pollinator art activities, bee-friendly gardening sessions, and more.
Founded by Australian native bee specialist Dr Megan Halcroft, Australian Pollinator Week is dedicated to raising awareness of the vital role all pollinators play in supporting Australia’s food production systems, biodiversity in our farms, parks and gardens and in the natural environment.
“Bees and other pollinators are a fundamental part of our ecosystems,” Dr Halcroft says.
“If we look after insect pollinators by increasing floral diversity and reducing chemical use, we’re looking after everything else.
“If you look after the little things, the whole web of life is supported.”
Australian Pollinator Week starts on 11 November and runs to 19 November. Highlights of this year’s event include the Australian Pollinator Count and the Pollinator Photography Competition, along with Bee Friendly Farming and Powerful Pollinator information sessions and webinars. A Discover Bees webinar will discuss the fascinating art and science behind the naming of new bees in Australia.
Australian Pollinator Week is coordinated by the Wheen Bee Foundation, and CEO Fiona Chambers says the Australian Pollinator Count plays a critical role in understanding pollinator diversity.
“Despite the vital role pollinators play in supporting biodiversity, little information is available about the vast majority of pollinators in Australia,” Ms Chambers says.
“More information is needed about these populations, so informed decisions can be made to ensure their wellbeing and safeguard ecosystem health.”
Australian Pollinator Week has grown significantly each year since it started in 2015, with schools, community groups, farmers’ markets, Rotary clubs and Landcare groups all getting involved, taking the time to recognise and celebrate the important role of pollinators.
Community groups across the country are encouraged to register their events for free online at the Australian Pollinator Week website.
Highlights of Australian Pollinator Week:
Australian Pollinator Count: The annual Australian Pollinator Count is a long-term project to monitor the status and trends of pollinator populations. This includes more than 2,000 species of bees, along with thousands of species of flies, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and other insects.
People across the country are encouraged to take part by heading outside, taking 10 minutes to record the pollinators they see and registering their results online.
A Pollinator Count Guide and quiz are available online to help with identifying different types of insects found in backyards, community gardens and farms.
Find out more at: www.australianpollinatorweek.org.au/count
Pollinator Photography Competition: After a successful launch in 2022, the Pollinator Photography Competition is back. Photographers and insect pollinator enthusiasts alike are encouraged to head outside and snap pictures of pollinators in action.
A separate category for schools is open to primary and secondary school students, sponsored by the Centre for Bee Education.
Submissions will be accepted until Sunday 5 November at 11.59pm AEDT. Winners will be announced in the Discover Bees Through Photography webinar.
Find out more at: www.australianpollinatorweek.org.au/pollinator-photography-competition
Discover Bees Through Photography Webinar: Learn from experienced bee photographers Bruce Malcolm, Michael Duncan and Anna Carrucan as they share their tips for capturing the perfect pollinator picture.
This free webinar is on Thursday 16 November at 7pm AEDT.
Discover Bees – The Art and Science of Naming New Species in Australia: Australia is home to about 1,700 named native bee species but it is believed about 1,000 more remain unidentified. Join native bee and taxonomy experts Emeritus Professor Andy Austin, Dr Remko Leijs and Dr Katja Hogendoorn as they discuss the art and science of naming new bee species in Australia.
This free webinar is on Tuesday 7 November 2023 at 7pm AEDT.
Powerful Pollinators Webinar: Hear from native plant and bee experts Dr Anna Carrucan and Dr Megan Halcroft as they share tips to encourage pollinators and learn the benefits of having pollinators on your farms, gardens and veggie patches.
This free webinar is on Sunday 12 November 2023 at 12pm AEDT.
Find out more at: www.australianpollinatorweek.org.au/event/powerful-pollinators-webinar
Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management Webinar: Hear from experts as they discuss the key steps to managing pests in a way that protects pollinators and promotes biodiversity on farms.
This free webinar is on Wednesday 15 November 2023 at 12pm AEDT.