Studies on the novel effects of feeding non-thermally treated honeybee gathered pollen on the colony stability and outputs of commercially-reared bumble bees ( Bombus terrestris) for pollination services
Pollination is a vital resource, carried out mainly by animals, which without could threaten food security on a global scale. Of the agricultural crops that are produced globally, animal pollination is responsible for 40%. Among animal pollinators, insects such as the honey and bumblebee are considered some of the most important for pollination of foods such as almonds, apples, strawberries, plums and blueberries. Commercial colonies of both are sold species are sold every year, which includes the global importation to over 50 countries of one million bumblebee colonies for the purpose of pollination. This practice of using commercially produced bee colonies for pollination is worth an estimated $14 billion to the US economy and $15 billion to the European economy per annum. Despite the largescale use of commercial colonies, wild bees are still seen as major contributors to the pollination of crops and flowering plants. However, their survival is undertreat, due to a multitude of factors, such as climate change, pesticides, habitat lose and disease with the latter being considered as some of the major drivers. One of the major concerns with disease spread has been brought about by the introduction of commercial colonies. Commercial colonies are marketed as pathogen free, however many studies have found that this is not always the case. Disease carrying bees have been known to forage large distances and then disperse pathogens on flowers, which in turn act as reservoirs. Separate studies in both Canada and Ireland found that certain bee parasites were more prevalent in wild bees the closer they were to commercial greenhouses and that this lessened the further away the bees were captured. Wild bees who then forage on these flowers then pick up the pathogens and bring them back to their nests, contaminating the hives, a practice known as pathogen spillover. Furthermore evidence has also being found that suggests not only are commercial bees a source of contamination, but so is the pollen that they are fed on. Commercial pollen is collected by honeybees and fed to both commercial honey and bumblebees colonies. Studies have found that it is often contaminated with parasites such as Crithidia bombi and Nosema species as well as some viruses. This suggests that commercial pollen could be a major driver in the spread of pathogens from commercial colonies to wild colonies and could be responsible.
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