Bumblebees getting stung bad by honeybee sickness

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Associated Press

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 19 at 11:36 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study shows that wild bumblebees worldwide are in trouble, likely contracting diseases from their commercialized honeybee cousins.

Insect experts said that's a problem because bumblebees pollinate a significant chunk of the world's flowers and food, especially greenhouse tomatoes. And the diseases and parasites are hurting the bigger bumblebees even more than the smaller honeybees, which are trucked from farm to farm to pollinate crops.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Researcher Mark Brown of the University of London said smaller studies have shown disease going back and forth between honeybees and bumblebees. But Brown said his study is the first bigger look at the problem. It tracked nearly 750 bees in 26 sites throughout Great Britain.

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