Wild bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombini) as a potential reservoir for bee pathogens in northeastern Argentina.
The genus Bombus is represented by 38 subgenera around the world with nearly 250 described species. They are among the most efficient insect pollinators and therefore important to the ecology and the economy. In Argentina, this genus it is represented by eight native and two introduced species. Several bee pathogens related to colony losses have been found in wild pollinators around the world, including bumble bees. We studied the presence of these pathogens in bumble bee species from different locations in northeastern Argentina to determine their relationship with prevalent bee pathogens previously detected in the country. We collected 93 specimens of three bumble bee species and screened them for eleven honey bee pathogens. We detected Nosema ceranae, Ascosphaera apis, Melisococcus plutonius, and four viruses. Sixteen samples were pathogen-free and 77 samples contained one or more pathogens. If bumble bees are a potential reservoir for bee pathogens, this could lead to the development of Emerging Infection Diseases in wild bees. However, further studies are required to confirm this assumption and to determine the direction of the spillover between wild and managed bees.