Wild bees are at risk of catching diseases from their struggling domesticated brethren, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Applied Ecology.
The study, led by evolutionary geneticist Lena Wilfert of the University of Exeter, adds a new layer to the crisis known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), which has precipitated an alarming drop in honeybee populations worldwide. … [T]he use of pesticides isn’t the only anthropogenic driver behind the transmission of pathogens into the wild. Wilfert’s team also found that many commercial beekeepers are creating ideal conditions for virulent diseases to emerge. “High densities within breeding facilities and in commercial pollination operations increase the contact rate between infected and uninfected conspecifics, thereby lowering the threshold for disease emergence,” the authors explain.