Zombie Bees

More bad news: a deadly fly parasite was spotted for the first time on honey bees, reported researchers at San Francisco State University in 2012.  The fly, Apocephalus borealis, deposits its eggs into a bee’s abdomen. After the honey bee dies, fly larvae “push their way into the world from between the bee’s head and thorax”.  (I hope you’re not eating breakfast right now.) After the parasitic fly has laid those eggs, the bees abandon their hives in “a flight of the living dead” and hang out near lights. See if you are following this: bad fly lays eggs in honey bee’s bottom, which hatch into worms, which creep out from inside the bee, which is driven mad and flies off with the parasites at night to hang out under street lamps. These zombie bees frequently carry the deformed wing virus and Nosema ceranae fungus, according to John Hafernik, Andrew Core, and Geraldine Lindsay, who have been studying this phenomenon. There are a number of unanswered questions about the parasites and the affected bees, so the researchers say they will radio-tag the bees and use video cameras to monitor them in their next round of study.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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1 Response to Zombie Bees

  1. Pingback: Zombees in Canada | Bad Beekeeping Blog

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