Beekeepers can benefit from flora mapping project

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Associate Professor Bryan Boruff from UWA says the aim of the project is to map flora to honey as well as to be able to track a honey back to the flora it came from. Picture: Anita McInnes

BEEKEEPERS will benefit from a mapping project being undertaken by the Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products, which held a workshop at the Yanchep Institute earlier this week.

The Mapping flora to honey workshop by Associate Professor Bryan Boruff from the University of Western Australia gave attendees an insight into the work researchers are carrying out.

One of the project’s aims is to map flora using satellite and drone technology to help beekeepers work out the best time to get their hives to an area.

Their research has shown there are a potential 284 plant species that can be used for honey production in the South West.

Mr Boruff said people might think there was only one species of a plant but when researchers delved into it they may find there was more than one.

He said sub species may have a different geographical distribution and different life cycles, such as flowering at different times.

Mapping the location of plants suitable for honey production and the life cycles of those plants would help beekeepers establish when flowering on those sites was happening.

Identifying the phenological cycle of plants in WA involved going to the herbarium and looking at the specimens themselves.

The researchers also hope to collect information from beekeepers that will help them work out the effects of prescribed burning on forage resources.

Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products (CRCHBP) chief executive officer Liz Barbour said a lot of flora was required to feed honey bees and that the flora needed to be protected.

At the end of the workshop participants were able to ask questions.