Viruses carried by commercial bees, used for honey or to pollinate crops, risk spreading diseases to wild pollinator populations with potentially “devastating effects”, researchers from the University of Exeter have warned.
The research, funded by the Royal Society and the Natural Environment Research Council, found that commercial species of honey bees and bumble bees can carry fast evolving viruses that have the potential to decimate wild pollinator species, including bees, hoverflies and butterflies. The effects of such an event would also place biodiversity and food security at risk.
Commercial pollinators are typically used to pollinate crops such as tomatoes, sweet peppers and oilseed rape. The global value of insect pollinators has been estimated to be around €153 billion (£117bn) each year and wild pollinators contribute to this and play an important role in pollinating crops and native plants.
However, the study warns that the social behaviour of honeybees, bumblebees and social wasps provide perfect conditions for disease transmission within colonies and between species. The risk of disease transmission can be further increased through poor management of commercial species, intensive breeding, poor pathogen screening, and the release of commercial bees into the environment to interact freely with wild pollinators.
Dr Lena Wilfery, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in Biosciences at the University of Exeter, said, “Our study highlights the importance of preventing the release of diseased commercial pollinators into the wild. The diseases carried by commercial species affect a wide range of wild pollinators but their spread can be avoided by improved monitoring and management practices.
“Commercial honey bee keepers have a responsibility to protect ecologically and economically important wild pollinator communities from disease.”
Pollinators are already seeing their populations decline rapidly, particularly in recent years. This has been linked to habitat destruction and increase use in pesticides.
Photo: James Patrick Casey via Flickr
Like our Facebook Page
7 Benefits of Purchasing Sustainable Housing
Our Top Five Sustainable Home Renovations For 2023
6 Ways Eco-Friendly Photographers Can Take Beautiful Natural Pictures
Emerging Research In Seagrass Restoration: What Does The Future Hold?
Sustainable Bites: How To Make Your Diet Eco-Friendly
Coffee Farms & Cloud Forests: Colombia’s New Eco Initiatives
Electric Cars: Are They Worth The Switch?
Maximizing the Efficiency of Deliveries: Strategies for Sustainable Businesses
The Rise of Sustainable Cloud Computing
Navigating Towards A Greener Future: Sustainable Practices In Maritime
The Future of Sustainability In The Logistics Industry
Can Eco-Friendly Businesses Embrace VPNs to Bolster Cybersecurity?
Eight Different Eco-Friendly Developments in the Food Industry
UK Lags EU in Installing Heat Pumps to Slow Climate Change
5 Key Areas to Look at When It Comes to Business Sustainability
Addressing Leadership Challenges in Green Entrepreneurship
Holding Eco-Friendly Coins is Greener and More Profitable
5 Reasons That Diamonds Can Be Excellent Green Investments
Eco-Friendly Airlines Use Weather Models to Make Safer Flights
Why Should We Invest in Eco-Friendly Homes?
- Features3 months ago
What is the Eco-Friendliest Option to Wash Your Dishes?
- Environment7 months ago
6 Home Improvements You Can Make to Help the Environment
- Environment11 months ago
How to Ensure Your Home’s Eco-Friendly During Construction?
- Business10 months ago
The Pulp & Paper Industry is Reaching its Sustainability Goals