Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Honey bees and climate explain viral prevalence in wild bee communities on a continental scale

Piot, Niels; Schweiger, Oliver; Meeus, Ivan; Yanez, Orlando; Straub, Lars; Villamar-Bouza, Laura; De la Rua, Pilar; Jara, Laura; Ruiz, Carlos; Malmstrom, Martin; Mustafa, Sandra; Nielsen, Anders; Mand, Marika; Karise, Reet; Tlak-Gajger, Ivana; Ozgor, Erkay; Keskin, Nevin; Dievart, Virginie; Dalmon, Anne; Gajda, Anna;
Show more authors


Viruses are omnipresent, yet the knowledge on drivers of viral prevalence in wild host populations is often limited. Biotic factors, such as sympatric managed host species, as well as abiotic factors, such as climatic variables, are likely to impact viral prevalence. Managed and wild bees, which harbor several multi-host viruses with a mostly fecal-oral between-species transmission route, provide an excellent system with which to test for the impact of biotic and abiotic factors on viral prevalence in wild host populations. Here we show on a continental scale that the prevalence of three broad host viruses: the AKI-complex (Acute bee paralysis virus, Kashmir bee virus and Israeli acute paralysis virus), Deformed wing virus, and Slow bee paralysis virus in wild bee populations (bumble bees and solitary bees) is positively related to viral prevalence of sympatric honey bees as well as being impacted by climatic variables. The former highlights the need for good beekeeping practices, including Varroa destructor management to reduce honey bee viral infection and hive placement. Furthermore, we found that viral prevalence in wild bees is at its lowest at the extreme ends of both temperature and precipitation ranges. Under predicted climate change, the frequency of extremes in precipitation and temperature will continue to increase and may hence impact viral prevalence in wild bee communities.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2022, Volume: 12, number: 1, article number: 1904

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

    UKÄ Subject classification


    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)