The Marine Biological Association

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Study highlights a new threat to bees worldwide

A recent study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports highlights a newly identified virus – named Moku after the Hawaiian Island from which it was isolated – in the invasive wasp, Vespula pensylvanica. The study also warns that transmission of these kinds of viruses, especially from invasive species which can spread viruses to new locations, is a threat to pollinator health worldwide.

Particularly under threat are honey bees, which are as vital to our food systems as the crops they pollinate, and which are prone to a range of emergent diseases, including Moku and Deformed wing virus (DWV).

The study has highlighted the importance of monitoring invasive species for broad-range viruses as well as the potential for transmission of these pathogens. Dr Declan Schroeder, Head of the Virus Ecology Group at the MBA explains: “The true significance of this discovery lies in the potential ramifications that a new biological invasion could cause”.

Read the press release

Read the article Moku virus highlights potential threat to pollinators worldwide from the Earlham Institute