A mite that spreads a dangerous virus among honeybees also plays an indirect role in infecting wild bumblebees, new research shows.
The Varroa destructor mite lives on honeybees and can spread deformed wing virus (DWV) throughout the hive.
The mite has emerged as a parasite of Western honeybees, after switching from its original host, the Asian honeybee at the beginning of the last century. It has since spread globally through the man-made movement of infested honeybee hives and has turned into a viral vector.
The invasive myth does not live on bumblebees, but University of Exeter scientists have discovered it indirectly affects them by raising infection rates among honeybees, which then spreads DWV to nearby bumblebees.
The researchers say their findings highlight the need for beekeepers to treat honeybee colonies affected by mites in order to protect wild cattle.
"We compared areas where honeybees had Varroa destructor mites with mite-free areas, "said Dr. Robyn Manley, of the Center for Ecology and Conservation of the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
"In areas where myths were present — and therefore spreading DWV among honeybees — we found higher rates of virus among wild bumblebees. Infected honeybees share their environment with bumblebees, feeding on the same flowers and fit on the virus.In effect, the myths turn honeybees into 'super spreaders' or DWV.'
A large proportion of honeybees in Britain and many other countries live in hives kept by beekeepers and dr. Manley said the study raised an important point for them. "Some beekeepers prefer not to intervene in my colonies, but this could endanger wild cattle," she said.
As parasites on honeybee pupae and adults, Varroa destructor myths spread DWV ̵
"There is a global epidemic of DWV, partly driven by the spread of the Varroa destructor myth," said Professor Wilfert of the University of Ulm, Germany.
"We know The virus severely affects honeybee colonies There has been less research into the impact on wild bumblebees, but studies so far suggest it can reduce their lifespan. These results emphasize the important role of beekeepers, regulators and landscape managers in maintaining the health of both managed Honeybees and wild bee populations. " DWV-B is known to be more harmful to honeybees, but it is not yet clear if and how the strains affect wild bumblebees differently.
The paper, published in the journal Ecology Letters is entitled: "Knock-on community impacts of a novel vector: Spillover or emerging DWV-B from Varroa-infested honeybees to wild bumblebees."
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retrieved June 13, 2019
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