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Zombie Honeybees Found in California

Zombie bees found in California could provide clues to colony collapse disorder.
Zombie bees found in California could provide clues to colony collapse disorder.
Laine Doss

It may sound like some truly bad straight-to-DVD movie, but Scientific American is reporting the discovery of zombie honeybees in Northern California, which may provide a clue in the search behind colony collapse disorder.

A research article recently published in Plos One, a peer-reviewed science site, stated that the parasitic phorid fly was found to be using honeybees as parasitic hosts, laying eggs inside the bees.

The parasitized bees started to act strange -- venturing out of their

hives at night and moving in aimless circles -- like zombies -- before

eventually dying.

In a further creepy note, according to the Plos One article, "seven days

later up to 13 phorid larvae emerge from each dead bee and pupate away

from the bee."

Scientists at San Francisco State University are

looking into this phenomenon further and plan to track bees with radio

tags and video cameras to see how many bee colonies are being affected. 

It's estimated that up to 77 percent of bee colonies in the San Francisco Bay

area are being infiltrated by the phorid fly.

Honeybees are

natural pollinators and are crucial to farmers. In recent years,

the honeybee population has been decreasing due to colony collapse

disorder (CCD). According to the EPA,

colony collapse disorder's cause could be from pesticides, stress, or

pests. Research into the phorid fly could provide additional clues to understand and ultimately stop CCD.


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