War of the bees: Honey bees infect bumblebees and drive them to extinction

Honey bees infect bumblebees and drive them to extinction by infecting shared plants

  • Killer viruses are spread from the managed insects in wild bumblebees
  • Apiary hives of household bees are hotbeds for infections
  • Spread to vulnerable wild populations because they pollinate the same flowers
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Scientists discovered that the constant eradication of wild bumblebees and their slow march towards extinction is being worsened by domestic honey bees.

The deadly viruses are spread from the managed insects in wild bumblebees by those who pollinate the same flowers.

Hives with dozens of hives are hotbeds for infections and contribute to the decimation of wild bee populations.

Bees are also facing problems with the increased use of pesticides, including the now banned neonicotinoids that have been found to kill the insects.

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Killer viruses are spread from the managed insects to wild bumblebees by those who pollinate the same flowers. Known as the malformed wing virus (DWV) and the Black Queen Cell virus (BQCV), they are most common in British and European bees (stock)

Killer viruses are spread from the managed insects to wild bumblebees by those who pollinate the same flowers. Known as the malformed wing virus (DWV) and the Black Queen Cell virus (BQCV), they are most common in British and European bees (stock)

Beekeeping has risen in popularity, but it would do more damage to the countryside than good, say the University of Vermont team.

The study published in PLOS ONE found the prevalence of two fatal infections higher in bumble bees collected at apiaries – where beehives are kept.

Known as the malformed wing virus (DWV) and the Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV), they are most common in British and European bees.

Active infections with DWV were also higher in bumble bees collected at apiaries – where there were none where there were no beehives.

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The researchers also discovered viruses in one fifth (19 percent) of flowers – but only from sites within apiaries.

All in all, the results support the long-held theory that viruses run from managed honey bees to wild bumblebees.

Lead author Dr. Samantha Alger, a biologist at the University of Vermont in New England, said that bumble bees and honey bees in the UK are infected with the same strain of DWV.

Virus prevention can be performed in tandem between the two. Flowers can be an important route for shipping, said Dr. Alger.

The findings could serve as a guide for efforts to protect vulnerable bumblebee species, the researchers say.

Hives with dozens of hives are hotbeds for infections and contribute to the decimation of wild bee populations, scientists claim (stock)
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Hives with dozens of hives are hotbeds for infections and contribute to the decimation of wild bee populations, scientists claim (stock)

Hives with dozens of hives are hotbeds for infections and contribute to the decimation of wild bee populations, scientists claim (stock)

Dr. Alger said: & The study supports a generally accepted but largely untested hypothesis – viruses are switching from managed honeybees to wild bumblebee species and this is probably due to the shared use of flowers. & # 39;

Her findings were based on bumble bees, honey bees and flowering plants collected from 19 locations in Vermont – seven of which had apiaries within 300 meters and the rest none within one kilometer.

Dr. Alger said: & # 39; The higher prevalence of both BQCV and DWV in bumble bees at apiaries, the lack of finding DWV at locations without honey bees, and the presence of viruses on flowers collected only from places with apiaries strong support for the hypothesis that RNA viruses flow from managed honeybees to wild bumblebee populations through the use of shared flower resources. & # 39;

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BQVC and DWV belong to a group of infections known as RNA viruses. It can lead to a colony collapse.

WHAT IS THE HONEYBEE CRISIS?

Honey bees, both wild and wild, are responsible for around 80 percent of global pollination, according to Greenpeace.

But the bee colony collapsing around the world is threatening their vital work.

Bees die from a combination of pesticides, habitat destruction, drought, food shortage, greenhouse effect and air pollution, among other factors.

The global bee crisis may be resolved if dangerous pesticides are eliminated, wild habitats are preserved and ecological farming is restored, according to Greenpeace (file photo)

The global bee crisis may be resolved if dangerous pesticides are eliminated, wild habitats are preserved and ecological farming is restored, according to Greenpeace (file photo)

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The global bee crisis may be resolved if dangerous pesticides are eliminated, wild habitats are preserved and ecological farming is restored, according to Greenpeace (file photo)

Greenpeace has reported: & # 39; Basically, we know that people are largely responsible for the two most prominent causes: pesticides and habitat loss. & # 39;

This is important for a number of reasons, in particular the amount of worker bees in our food production.

Bees pollinate vegetables, nuts and fruit. Of the best human food crops, no fewer than 70 out of 100 are pollinated by the creatures, which make up no less than 90 percent of global food.

Greenpeace has proposed the following solutions to the problem:

  • The conservation of wild habitats to protect the health of pollinators
  • The restoration of ecological agriculture
  • The elimination of & # 39; the world's most dangerous pesticides

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