While managed honeybees get all the attention, some native pollinators ‘dwindle toward extinction’

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Those honeybees you’ve been fretting over are getting native bumblebees sick.

A new study shows that viruses infecting domestic honeybees are spreading to wild bee species. This is potentially a much bigger conservation disaster than the better-known honeybee die-off because the lonely native pollinators are quietly dwindling toward extinctionSeveral species of pollinators have been listed as threatened or endangered. Some have not been spotted for years. Others may have winked out of existence without anyone noticing.

Meanwhile, honeybees have an industry breeding new hives and researching solutions to support them.

“The honeybee is a livestock animal,” said Samantha Alger, a University of Vermont grad student and lead author of the new paper published in PLOS One. “Being concerned about pollinator conservation and using the honeybee as your iconic image is about as logical as being concerned about bird conservation and using the chicken as your iconic image.”

Related article:  Viewpoint: When politics and emotion dictate pesticide safety rules, farmers lose

Read full, original article: Those honeybees you’re so worried about? They’re killing off wild bee species

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