The potential management of the drone fly (<i>Eristalis tenax</i>) as a crop pollinator in New Zealand
Keywords:honey bees, pollination, pollinator management, non-bees, Diptera, pollinator diversity, Syphidae, hover fly, wild pollinators
The drone fly (Eristalis tenax) pollinates many crops and is found almost worldwide. Its successful management as a field-crop pollinator would provide an additional option to augment bee pollination. We reviewed literature to assess their management potential. A literature search was conducted for information on drone-fly abundance across New Zealand crops, pollinator effectiveness, lifecycle-requirements and potential for mass rearing. Relevant literature was then evaluated to assess the feasibility, benefits and limitations of their management. Eristalis tenax is a proven pollinator of pak choi (Brassica rapa spp. chinensis), kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) and onion (Allium cepa), and visits the flowers of several more crops in New Zealand. It readily completes its lifecycle under laboratory conditions when reared on various organic materials. No reviewed studies were identified that showed successful management of populations for the purpose of field-crop pollination. Key challenges for their management as field-crop pollinators include: being able to mass rear them at an appropriate scale; retaining numbers within targeted areas in the field; and ensuring their use does not significantly impact on non-target species and land-user interests.