Vermont Bees Infected By Fly Eggs Exhibit Zombie Traits
Jeez, honeybees just can’t catch a break. Bee populations in the United States have been dwindling the last few years due to different environmental factors, and some even say are on the slow path to extinction. They now face a new threat from mother nature in the form of a simple fly the turns them into a zombie. Yep, you read that correctly. You can’t make this shit up people…
A professor from San Francisco State University by the name of John Hafernik first discovered zombie bees in 2008. He discovered that a fly called Apocephalus Borealis attaches itself to the bee and injects its eggs, which then grow inside the bee. It is believed that this causes neurological damage to the bee resulting in erratic, jerky movement and nighttime activity similar to a zombie. Unlike a Hollywood zombie though, these bees usually die a few hours after showing symptoms.
And Like In The Movies The “Virus” Spreads
Professor Hafernik and his colleagues have been monitoring the spread of this disease in the honeybees across the United States. The four states so far that have confirmed sightings of the zombie bees have been California, Washington, Oregon, and South Dakota. These bees found in Essex Junction, Vermont are the farthest east they have been found and makes this 5 states now. Previously, the fly used bumblebees as a host. Vermont appears to be the first time honeybees were the target.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is looking to use trapping of these bees to investigate further, however the cold weather has made this a little bit more difficult. “Given the way bee populations have become so homogenized and how they are shipped cross country to aid in pollinating, the first Eastern infection of the zombie fly actually makes sense”, says University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum, a top bee expert. “It’s not surprising; it’s certainly not good news,” she continued. “There are so many pathogens and parasites that we’re aware of that are afflicting bees.”
Could This Bee The Final Nail In The Coffin?
Hafernik said it would be a “game changer” if these flies could hatch from dead bees and complete their life cycle inside the hive. “I think it would be another nail in the coffin for honeybees in the northern hemisphere.” And that people is not a good thing.
The declining population of honeybees isn’t just happening in the US, this is a global problem. The United Nations Environment Program recently issued a stark warning about the disappearance of bees, which are increasingly important as crop pollinators around the globe. Without profound changes to the way human beings manage the planet, they say, declines in pollinators needed to feed a growing global population are likely to continue.
“The declining population of honeybees isn’t just happening in the United States, this is a global problem.”
“The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. “The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.”
Holy Crap That Stings
The honeybee is extremely important to the well being of modern day society. Much of our food is made possible in one way or another due to the bee, and this would quickly change without them. Obviously science needs to become more aggressive in the preservation of bee species or get working on little robotic bees that can pollinate crops and make honey. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for bees and the shit they have been going through the last decade or so, but you have to admit, the concept of zombie bees is kinda cool. The movie almost writes itself! An infected bee stings a human, they get infected and it spreads. Fuck, i watch too many zombie movies…
What do you think? We’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!