The Australian Hydroponics & Greenhouse Association has taken the next step in their plan to import European bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) into Australia by putting out a 100+ page report on the pros and cons. Well, mainly the pros, actually. If the report's executive summary is any indication, the AHGA is bitter about the whole thing, angry at concerned conservationists and thinks that none of the countries that "enjoy" European bumblebees have had any problems with the insects (Japan, anyone?). The report does raise several valid points about the economic benefits of using bumblebees as pollinators (more and cheaper tomatoes) and the risk of establishment if they are confined to greenhouses. Unfortunately any decent research contained in the report is overshadowed by the disrespectful, unprofessional way in which the evidence is presented.
If you have something to say about this issue, a public comment period is open until June 16th. Interested readers will also want to check out this article from the magazine Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses.
Thanks to Sandy L. for posting about this story to the ALIENS-L listserver.