The historically high heat waves that gripped the southwest United States and southern Europe this summer are causing problems for more than just humans. Extreme heat waves affect pollinators and the pathogens that live on them, creating a mutual imbalance that could have major economic and public health consequences.

A global research team led by Penn State was the first to study how extreme heat waves affect the host-pathogen relationship between two species of solitary bees (Osmia cornifrons and Osmia lignaria) and a protozoan pathogen (Crithidia mellificae). The researchers recently published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Bee populations at risk of one-two punch from heat waves, pathogen infection | Penn State University (