Bees of all kinds love flowers; however, flower nectar and pollen can also serve as vectors for various pathogens (disease causing agents) that can spread between bees of different colonies using the same flowers. In fact, honey bees can even pick up and spread bumble bee diseases to different flowers and vice versa. What’s more, the shape of a flower can also influence this disease spread as platform shaped flowers don’t seem to spread disease as effectively as more involved tube shaped flowers which bees spend more time working on and in contact with.
[Photo and caption by Adrian Perez]
Graystock, P., Goulson, D. and Hughes, W.O., 2015. Parasites in bloom: flowers aid dispersal and transmission of pollinator parasites within and between bee species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1813), p.20151371.
[Edited by Maggie Creamer]