Bee diseases hop from honey bees to bumble bees

Honey bees are bumble bees are closely related, which means that some diseases apadted to one might be able to jump to the other. We already knew zombie flies could transition from a bumble bee host to honey bees- causing them to leave their hives at night to fly lurchingly around lights until they die and the parasites controlling them emerge to find new hosts.

Now it seems deformed wing virus and a fungal pathogen, Nosema ceranae, were found on bumble bees across the United Kingdom. Both pathogens lead to shorter bee lifespans, which increases the threat to bumble bees, which are already in decline in most of the world due to habitat loss.

These two diseases have already taken a high toll on honey bees- so the out look is decidedly not good. This is a reminder to continue working to preserve natural areas, create habitat in urban and agricultural areas, and reduce spraying of pesticides that are known to be highly toxic to all bee species.

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