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Parasites in commercial bumblebees colonies

The use of commercial bumblebees to aid crop pollination may result in overcrowding of agricultural landscapes by pollinators. Consequently, transmission of parasites between pollinators via shared flowers may be substantial. In SW Spain, the authors assessed the initial infection status of commercial Bombus terrestris colonies and then explored spatial and seasonal influences on changes in parasite prevalence across a landscape where bumblebee colonies are intensively used to pollinate berry crops. Colonies were placed inside strawberry greenhouse crops and in woodlands adjacent and distant to crops, in winter and in spring, as representative periods of high and low use of colonies, respectively. Worker bumblebees were collected from colonies upon arrival from a producer and 30 days after being placed in the field. The abdomen of each bumblebee was morphologically inspected for a range of internal parasites. Upon arrival, 71% of the colonies were infected by spores of Nosema. Three bumblebees from two colonies harboured Apicystis bombi spores at the end of their placement in woodlands adjacent to the crops. Nosema colony prevalence did not change significantly either among sites or between seasons. No evidence was found for the density of commercial B. terrestris impacting Nosema prevalence in those commercial colonies, but results highlight the potential risk for parasites to be transmitted from commercial bumblebees to native pollinators. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Trillo et al (2019) Prevalence of Nosema microsporidians in commercial bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) is not related to the intensity of their use at the landscape scale. Apidologie https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-019-00637-4


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13592-019-00637-4
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