So Zombie Bees are a Thing Now
More bad news: Zombie bees have been spotted all across the states.
Slightly better news: They don’t have an insatiable craving for human brains. Probably.
The most recent known spotting of the zombie bees plays out like the setup for a zombie flick. Amateur beekeeper Mark Hohn returned from a vacation to his suburban Seattle home, only to find that his colonies had been overrun by… zombees.
Hohn knew that in order to save his remaining bees, he needed to determine the source of the outbreak. So, he carefully collected a number of bee corpses in sealed plastic bags. Shortly afterward, he discovered that the bags now contained the pupae of a parasitic fly – the source of the zombifying infection.
The ‘zombification’ of bees, a noted phenomenon that seems to be growing more common, is caused by this parasitic fly, which uses the bodies of unsuspecting bees as hosts for its eggs. The infection begins when a female fly lands on a bee and injects her eggs inside of a bee’s abdomen. The eggs then hatch and maggots grow inside of the bee, devouring its insides.
As this is occurring, the bee’s behavior begins to change. Infected bees are seen flying around at night, flying in “jerky patterns”, flying toward sources of light, and lurching around on the ground until they finally die. The maggots then pupate and emerge from the bee’s corpse in three to four weeks as adult flies.
While the parasite doesn’t affect humans (yet), the phenomenon is likely contributing to bee population decline. This is serious, because bee populations are already declining due to a mysterious phenomenon called ‘colony collapse disorder’, and we all know how important bees are to the ecosystem. A website, zombeewatch.org, has been created to track the instances of zombified bees.