Global warming aiding spread of honeybee-harming parasite

Global warming is aiding the spread of a parasite that is decreasing honeybee populations around the world, a research has found.

IANS| Last Updated: Nov 26, 2014, 15:30 PM IST
Global warming aiding spread of honeybee-harming parasite

London: Global warming is aiding the spread of a parasite that is decreasing honeybee populations around the world, a research has found.

The research compared pathogen growth in honeybees that were infected with both the exotic parasite "Nosema ceranae," and its native relative "Nosema apis."

While both parasites inhibit each other's growth, the exotic Nosema ceranae has a greater negative impact on the native Nosema apis.

"Our results reveal that the exotic parasite is a better competitor than its original close relative, and its widespread distribution and patterns of prevalence in nature depend on climatic conditions too," said Myrsini Natsopoulou from Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.

By integrating the effects of competition and climate into a simple mathematical model, the researchers were better able to predict the relative occurrence of both parasite species in nature.

"This emerging parasite is more susceptible to cold than its original close relative, possibly reflecting its presumed origin in east Asia," co-author of the study Robert Paxton of Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, Britain, added.

"In the face of rising global temperatures, our findings suggest that it will increase in prevalence and potentially lead to increased honeybee colony losses in Britain," Paxton said.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.