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Bee warfare: Domesticated honey bees spread viruses on plants, driving wild bumblebees to extinction

If you’re buying your honey from domestic apiaries and suppliers, there’s a high chance that you are contributing to the continued eradication of wild bumblebees, according to scientists. According to a group of scientists from the University of Vermont (UVM) and the University of Florida, a spillover of viruses from domesticated honey bees (Apis mellifera) may be killing off populations of many wild bumblebee species (Bombus spp.). The scientists, led by Samantha Alger from UVM published their study in the journal PLOS One. According to the scientists, the viruses are likely to have spread through salivary secretions or feces left behind on flowers by domesticated honey bees while they are foraging. In their study, the researchers revealed that two RNA viruses were found in higher rates in wild bumblebees collected near managed beehives in apiaries than those farther out: the black queen cell virus (BQCV) and deformed wing virus (DWV). Read more....

 

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