Farmer Uses Flies To Pollinate Cauliflower

The Australian vegetable grower has become the country’s first to use flies as pollinators.

by Dani Yokhna

Farmer Uses Flies to Pollinate Cauliflower (
Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

Personally, I cannot stand flies—they’re a pest to both humans and animals—but they actually can be useful when it comes to pollination. A farmer in Tasmania, Australia, has been breeding flies for that very purpose.

Alan Wilson grows cauliflower for Serve Ag, a company that provides agricultural products and services. During the process, he’s discovered that flies pollinate cauliflower more effectively than bees, according to Wilson begins the process by hanging meat in a hut far away from his—or any other farmer’s—farm. He then collects the maggots from the carcasses. Wilson then places them in trays filled with ground-up coconut coir. After that the maggots are transferred to the poly tunnel where male and female brassica plants are housed. There, the maggots are placed in trays with ox livers.

“I source ox livers as a cheap source of protein in the hope that the first crop of flies will generate a second generation of flies inside the house,” Wilson told “We initially used just bees for pollination but didn’t achieve an outstanding seed set. Serve Ag was aware they used flies in Europe, so the suggestion was made and when you think about it, that happens outside. You don’t necessarily see it but they’re there. Flies crawl around over the flowers chasing the nectar and in the process transferring pollen.”

Once the process is complete, Serve Ag cleans the seed, packs it and sends it to France.

Would you consider breeding flies to pollinate your vegetables?

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