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Invading Argentine ants carry virus that attacks bees

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8:00pm, September 9, 2015
ants

ANT FIGHT  Invasive Argentine ants, shown in a threesome attacking a native New Zealand ant, carry hitchhiking viruses, a new survey says.

The first survey of viruses in the globally invasive Argentine ant brings both potentially bad and good news.

One of two viruses identified to be actively reproducing in the ants (Linepithema humile) is a known threat to honeybees, says Philip Lester, a community ecologist at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Called deformed wing virus, it might use ants as a reservoir, spreading to bees that are visiting the same flowers or getting raided for honey by the ants, Lester and colleagues suggest September 9 in Biology Letters.  

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