Bumblebees infected with honeybee diseases
Researchers have found that two diseases harboured by honeybees are spilling over into wild bumblebees. Insects infected with deformed wing virus and a fungal parasite called Nosema ceranae were found across England, Scotland and Wales. Beekeepers should keep their honeybees as free from disease as possible to stop the spread.
"These pathogens are capable of infecting adult bumblebees and they seem to have quite significant impacts," said Professor Mark Brown from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Around the world, bumblebees are doing badly. In the last few decades, many species have suffered steep declines, and some, such Cullem's bumblebee (Bombus cullumanus) in the UK, have gone extinct.
Scientists believe that the destruction of their habitats - particularly wildflower meadows - has driven much of this loss, but the latest research suggests that disease too could play a role.