Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel
Professor Ben Oldroyd (Chair)
Professor of Behavioural Genetics, University of Sydney
Ben has worked in the fields of honey bee genetics, behaviour and ecology for over 40 years. Throughout his career, Ben has held roles with the Victorian Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture Honey Bee Breeding Laboratory in Baton Rouge and the Australian Research Council at La Trobe University. He has made important contributions to the industry, including researching the biology of Asian honey bees and Cape bees, launching the BEE Lab at the University of Sydney, establishing Plan Bee and helping beekeepers breed better, healthier strains. Ben has attained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Sydney, where he completed his PhD in bee breeding. He has authored over 300 scientific papers on honey bees and stingless bees, and in 2001 received a Doctor of Science for his contributions to the understanding of the evolution of honey bee societies. As Chair of the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel, Ben wants to use his unique skill set as a beekeeper, scientist and board member, to raise the profile of the program and make a lasting difference in the industry.
Dr Rob Manning
Rob is a former research scientist for the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Over the past 27 years, Rob’s beekeeping-research career has been topically wide and not confined to any one thing. His career highlights include an evaluation of the WA queen bee breeding program, surveying pollens for their fatty acid profiles and testing fatty acid enhanced feedstuffs to improve bee nutrition, and research into WA honeys – using the late Professor Molan’s methodology – to find antimicrobial activity in WA honeys. This project originally discovered the high activity of jarrah and marri (redgum) honeys (higher than manuka). Rob is keen to work with the Advisory Panel to explore honey bee nutrition, pollination and how honey bees can improve food production in Australia, as well as the drone side of queen bee breeding. Rob is also the recipient of several awards including the Goodacre Memorial Award, the Best Innovation or Invention Award (WA Government) and the Inventors Award (Karragullen Field Day).
Dr Diana Leemon
Diana is a business owner of Myco-Vation where she acts as a research advisor and consultant. Over the past 20 years, she has conducted and led research projects across a range of livestock industries including honey bees. Diana has been an amateur beekeeper since 1997 and has been associated with small hive beetle (SHB) research, almost since it arrived in Queensland in 2002. Diana joined the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in 2017.
Co-owner, Bee Services
Steve has worked in the honey bee industry for over 40 years. With his brother Wayne they run Bee Services in northern NSW, producing organic honey and pollinating fruit, berries and nuts across the north coast. Bee Services has been certified as an organic producer by the Biological Farmers Association since 2005. Steve is a member of the Crop Pollination Association of Australia and is the current President of the north coast branch of the NSW Apiarists Association. He is passionate about educating people both within the honey bee industry and across the wider community, about the benefits of bees and their importance in the food chain. Through his involvement on the Advisory Panel, Steve wants to share his experience and knowledge to advance the Australian honey bee industry and see an increased appreciation of the industry. He believes that if industry and researchers work together practical research outcomes will be delivered to address industry challenges.
Neil Bingley works with his brother David and son, Brett in managing 2,000 hives across the South Eastern quarter of New South Wales which occasionally extends into Victoria. Neil has been a professional beekeeper since 1980 following in the steps of his Father. As a commercial beekeeper he is always looking for ways that lead to on-farm innovation. Neil has extensive involvement in the beekeeping industry as President and Executive of the NSW Apiarsts’ Association (NSWAA) and NSWAA’s Southern Tableland’s branch. Neil has also been an Executive Member of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and is a recipient of the Keith Mcllvride Memorial Award 2014. Neil looks forward to providing a commercial beekeepers perspective to the Advisory Panel and will be voicing the industry’s need for clear practical outcomes. He is keen to share his on-farm experiences and work with the Advisory Panel to ensure RD&E has practical outcomes for Australian beekeepers.
Operations Manager, Monsons Honey and Pollination
Jonathan is a fourth-generation beekeeper from Victoria, working in the family’s beekeeping operation from a young age. Monsons Honey and Pollination is one of the largest pollinators globally, coordinating over 110,000 hives annually. Pollination is a major part of their business, with a particular focus on almonds. Jonathan spent the 2010 season beekeeping in Canada, pollinating blueberries and experiencing varroa mite firsthand. He has travelled to the United States on multiple occasions, meeting beekeepers, growers and researchers, discussing challenges facing the honey bee industry. Through his travels and conversations domestically and overseas, Jonathan has developed a good understanding of the key challenges facing the industry. Jonathan would like to see further research into nutrition, supplementary feeding, and Queen breeding. He wants people to understand the heavy reliance on bees for food production and how fragile the insect is. Bees are one of the key foundations in the food production chain, if the bees are healthy, the industry is healthy.
Ashley is the Research and Development Manager of the Pollination Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative at Hort Innovation. Ashley works with the 35 industries Hort Innovation represents, to address the need to create a sustainable and resilient Australian horticultural sector through improved crop pollination services and pollinator options. Ashley was appointed to the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in 2017.