Research

Sharing flowers may be deadly for native stingless bees

Tetragonula stingless bees at thier nest entrance, in the side of a house

European honey bees could pass their diseases to native stingless bees simply by feeding on the same flowers, according to Australian research, which found five out of six wild stingless bee hives contained a parasite known to infect the gut of adult honey bees.

In honey bees, the parasite causes the bees to become less active, hungrier, and die prematurely.

In laboratory testing, the team found that stingless bees infected with the disease died almost three times faster than healthy bees.

The researchers suggest more work outside the laboratory and within different seasons is required to understand how deadly the disease is to wild bees.

Source: James Cook University