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Flower sharing may be unsafe for bees

Wild pollinators are catching honeybee viruses, possibly from pollen

Eleven species of wild pollinators in the United States have turned up carrying some of the viruses known to menace domestic honeybees, possibly picked up via flower pollen.

Most of these native pollinators haven’t been recorded with honeybee viruses before, according to Diana Cox-Foster of Penn State University in University Park. The new analysis raises the specter of diseases swapping around readily among domestic and wild pollinators, Cox-Foster and her colleagues report online December 22 in PLoS ONE.

Gone are any hopes that viral diseases in honeybees will stay in honeybees, she says. “Movement of any managed pollinator may introduce viruses.”

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