Buzz on in­sects spread­ing viruses

Bee car­ri­ers

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

BEES are known as farm­ers’ friends, but could they also be foes?

Northern Ter­ri­tory re­searcher Mary Fin­lay-Doney has been con­duct­ing ex­per­i­ments for the past three years to see if Euro­pean honey bees can spread cu­cum­ber green mot­tle mo­saic virus. CGMMV was de­tected in water­melon crops at Kather­ine in the Northern Ter­ri­tory in 2014.

The virus is known for be­ing trans­mit­ted through move­ment of ma­chin­ery.

The ex­per­i­ments in­di­cated the virus was vi­able inside bee hives, but Ms Fin­lay-Doney stressed more re­search was needed.

In Aus­tralia hives are shifted from pad­dock to pad­dock, and farm to farm dur­ing pol­li­na­tion.

“In the Northern Ter­ri­tory we have hives that move from Dar­win to Kather­ine, which is 300km, then we have hives that move from Kather­ine to Alice Springs, which is a dis­tance of some thou­sand kilo­me­tres,” she said.

PHOTO: MAR­JORIE WEB­BER

FO­CUS: Euro­pean honey bee.

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