Honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies as bioindicators of environmental SARS-CoV-2 occurrence.

The Science of the Total Environment
Giovanni CiliaAntonio Nanetti


SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Airflows sustain the infection spread, and in densely urbanized areas airborne particulate matters (PMs) are deemed to aggravate the viral transmission. Apis mellifera colonies are used as bioindicators as they allow environmental sampling of different nature, PMs included. This experiment demonstrates for the first time the possible use of honey bee colonies in the SARS-CoV-2 monitoring. The trial was conducted in Bologna on 18 March 2021, when the third wave of the Italian pandemic was at its peak and environmental conditions allowed high PM concentrations in the air. Sterile swabs were lined up at the hive entrance to sample the dusty material on the body of returning foragers. All of them resulted positive for the target genes of viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Likewise, internal samples were taken, but they resulted in no amplification of the target sequences. This experiment does not support speculations about the role of honey bees or their products in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. However, it indicates a novel use of A. mellifera colonies in the environmental detection of airborne human pathogens, at least in a densely urbanized area, deserving better understanding and possible inte...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.


Blastomycosis fungal infections spread through inhaling Blastomyces dermatitidis spores. Discover the latest research on blastomycosis fungal infections here.

Nuclear Pore Complex in ALS/FTD

Alterations in nucleocytoplasmic transport, controlled by the nuclear pore complex, may be involved in the pathomechanism underlying multiple neurodegenerative diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Dementia. Here is the latest research on the nuclear pore complex in ALS and FTD.

Applications of Molecular Barcoding

The concept of molecular barcoding is that each original DNA or RNA molecule is attached to a unique sequence barcode. Sequence reads having different barcodes represent different original molecules, while sequence reads having the same barcode are results of PCR duplication from one original molecule. Discover the latest research on molecular barcoding here.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by unexplained disabling fatigue; the pathology of which is incompletely understood. Discover the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome here.

Evolution of Pluripotency

Pluripotency refers to the ability of a cell to develop into three primary germ cell layers of the embryo. This feed focuses on the mechanisms that underlie the evolution of pluripotency. Here is the latest research.

Position Effect Variegation

Position Effect Variagation occurs when a gene is inactivated due to its positioning near heterochromatic regions within a chromosome. Discover the latest research on Position Effect Variagation here.

STING Receptor Agonists

Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) are a group of transmembrane proteins that are involved in the induction of type I interferon that is important in the innate immune response. The stimulation of STING has been an active area of research in the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Here is the latest research on STING receptor agonists.


Microbicides are products that can be applied to vaginal or rectal mucosal surfaces with the goal of preventing, or at least significantly reducing, the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Here is the latest research on microbicides.