Argentine Ants Carry Virus Deadly to Honeybees

Argentine Ants Carry Virus Deadly to Honeybees

SEPT. 11, 2015

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 Three Argentine ants, top, attacking a New Zealand native ant, center. The ant at the bottom had its limbs amputated by the Argentine ants, which also may spread a disease to honeybees, according to a new study. Credit Phil Lester

By SINDYA N. BHANOO

The Argentine ant, already known as one of the world’s most widespread and damaging pests, may be infecting honeybees with a deadly virus, a new study finds.

Alexandra Sebastien, a biologist at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, analyzed Argentine ant populations in New Zealand, Australia and Argentina as part of her doctoral research.

She and her colleagues found that ants from all three locations can carry the deformed wing virus, a pathogen linked to colony collapse in honeybees. The new study appears in the current issue of the journal Biology Letters. Read more.