Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parasites fail to halt European bumblebee invasion of the UK

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
University of Royal Holloway London
Summary:
A species of bee from Europe that has stronger resistance to parasite infections than native bumblebees has spread across the UK, according to new research. The study shows that tree bumblebees have rapidly spread despite them carrying high levels of an infection that normally prevents queen bees from producing colonies. The species arrived in the UK from continental Europe 13 years ago and has successfully spread at an average rate of nearly 4,500 square miles -- about half the size of Wales -- every year.

Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum).
Credit: By Charlesjsharp (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A species of bee from Europe that has stronger resistance to parasite infections than native bumblebees has spread across the UK, according to new research at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Related Articles


The study, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, shows that tree bumblebees have rapidly spread despite them carrying high levels of an infection that normally prevents queen bees from producing colonies. The species arrived in the UK from continental Europe 13 years ago and has successfully spread at an average rate of nearly 4,500 square miles -- about half the size of Wales -- every year.

Researchers collected tree bumblebee queens from the wild, checked them for parasites and then monitored colony development in a laboratory. Despite the bees having low genetic diversity and high levels of a nematode parasite that usually castrates other species, 25 per cent of the queens were able to produce offspring. Scientists believe the spread of tree bumblebees could have both positive and negative impacts on native bees.

"Since its arrival to the UK, the tree bumblebee has been rapidly spreading despite high levels of this castrating parasite," said researcher Catherine Jones, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway. "Bees are essential to our food chain and the populations of our native bumblebees have declined in recent decades. The arrival of tree bumblebees could be hugely beneficial to us by absorbing parasite pressure from our native species, as well as helping to pollinate wild plants and crops."

Professor Mark Brown, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, added: "While these findings show promising signs for bee populations in the UK, we still don't know whether there could be any negative impacts if the bumblebees compete for food or nesting sites. Further research should focus on how our native bees are affected and the pollination services that this new species provides."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Royal Holloway London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Catherine M. Jones, Mark J. F. Brown. Parasites and genetic diversity in an invasive bumblebee. Journal of Animal Ecology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12235

Cite This Page:

University of Royal Holloway London. "Parasites fail to halt European bumblebee invasion of the UK." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603231042.htm>.
University of Royal Holloway London. (2014, June 3). Parasites fail to halt European bumblebee invasion of the UK. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603231042.htm
University of Royal Holloway London. "Parasites fail to halt European bumblebee invasion of the UK." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603231042.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins