Do honey bee viruses spread to Australian stingless bees and what is the impact of the viruses on the stingless bees?

A new project will investigate the impacts on honey bee associated viruses on native stingless bees.
Shahid Mehmood is a first-year PhD student at James Cook University, Cairns campus working on virus spillover from European and Asian honey bees to the stingless bees, Tetragonula hockingsi and Tetragonula carbonaria. Shahid is investigating if the five most common honey bee viruses are transmitted to stingless bees. He will compare the load of virus in managed stingless bees vs feral stingless bees; and if the honey bees nesting in proximity to the stingless bees increase the viral disease transmission. His research will also focus on the impacts of the virus on the health of stingless bees. In European honey bees A. mellifera, deformed wing virus can affect flight performance while Israel acute paralysis virus and Kashmir bee virus interfere with brain functions. Shahid will study whether these viruses can also similarly affect stingless bees.