Want to Save The Bees? Pay Attention to Pathogens and Flowers

by Daegan Miller, UMass Amherst
October 31, 2022

New research published in the journal Ecology conclusively shows that certain physical traits of flowers affect the health of bumble bees by modulating the transmission of a harmful pathogen called Crithidia bombi. In particular, the research, conducted by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, shows that the length of a flower’s corolla, or the flower’s petals, affects how this pathogen gets transferred between bees because shorter corollas mean that fewer bee feces wind up inside the flower itself and in the path of the bees in search of nectar.

Scientists have recently sounded the alarm over the “insect apocalypse,” or massive die-off of the world’s bugs. By some estimates, the past 50 years have seen a 75% decline in the world’s insect life. Among the many ecological implications of this apocalypse is the collapse of pollinator species, some of which scientists estimate have died back by 90% in the US during the last twenty years.

Keep reading: https://www.umass.edu/news/article/want-save-bees-pay-attention-pathogens-and-flowers

Read the Ecology paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ecy.3866