Commercial Bombus impatiens as reservoirs of emerging infectious diseases of colony collapse disorder in central Mexico
1Centro Nacional de Investigacio´n Disciplinaria en Parasitología Veterinaria, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP), Carr. Fed. Cuernavaca-Cuautla No. 8534, CP 62550 Jiutepec, Morelos, Mexico
2Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Av. Universidad 1001, Col. Chamilpa, 62209 Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
3Departamento de Genética del Desarrollo y Fisiología Molecular, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Avenida Universidad, 2001, Apartado Postal 510–3, 62210
4Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria, Morelos, México.
5Centro de Ciencias Genómicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos.
The commercialization of bumble bee colonies as agricultural pollinators in North American greenhouses is primarily mediated by industrially produced Bombus impatiens colonies. However, B. impatiens is also host of various viruses that have been associated with colony collapse disorder in honey bees, as well as hosts to a number of bumble beespecific pathogens and parasites. In this study, we used qPCR to screen adult worker bumble bees collected from 120 different greenhouses in central Mexico. Fifty-four locations were positive for one or more pathogens (45 %). The most frequently detected pathogen was Apicystis bombi, which was present in 32 colonies. Of these 32 A. bombi positive colonies, 15 were co-infected with at least one other pathogen or parasite, such as Locustacarus buchneri, Nosema bombi, or the viral pathogens ABPV, CBPV, DWV, IAPV and KBV. Routine use of this type of screening technology together with policy changes to restrict pathogen infested commercial bumble bees should help improve the selection of healthy commercial colonies of B. impatiens and could lead to a higher efficiency in greenhouse pollination thus providing better environmental conservation of natural Bombus spp. by preventing spillover of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs).