The study, published July 20 in Nature Ecology and Evolution, also found that one in eight individual bees had at least one parasite.
The study was conducted in field sites in upstate New York, where the researchers screened 2,624 flowers from 89 species and 2,672 bees from 110 species for bee parasites through an entire growing season. They used molecular data to identify five common protozoan (free-living, single-celled) and fungal parasites.
"We know very little about transmission of these diseases," said senior author Scott McArt, assistant professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "Our study shows that transmission can likely occur on a lot of different flowers, and the amount of disease in a community is shaped by both the floral community and the bee community."