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Non-native mason bees—originally from Japan—are carrying disease-causing fungi that may be affecting closely-related native bees, according to findings by Cornell bee expert Bryan Danforth 

AVF Bee Funding Creates Buzz

June 30, 2015

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Non-native mason bees—originally from Japan—are carrying disease-causing fungi that may be affecting closely-related native bees, according to findings by Cornell bee expert Bryan Danforth and his team. The research was supported by an Academic Venture Fund grant from the Atkinson Center.

With the collapse of European honey bee colonies in the United States, apple growers are turning to non-native mason bees and other managed bee species for essential pollination services. Native pollinators are another viable option for many New York orchards, as Cornell Orchards proved this year with its first wild-bee pollinated apple crop. Unfortunately, native mason bee populations have been shrinking in the Northeast. Future research will determine if pathogens originating in Japan are spreading to vulnerable native bees and contributing to their decline.

Read about the team’s AVF-funded research on fungi carried by non-native bees.

Read about Danforth’s related work with Cornell Orchards in the Cornell Chronicle and in ACSF’s summer newsletter.