Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Zombees invading British Columbia

Apocephalus borealis is a species of North American parasitoid phorid fly that parasitizes bumblebees, honey bees, and paper wasps. These flies are colloquially known as zombie flies and the bees they infect are known as zombees. Recently the fly has changed host and has begun to attack the European honey bee.

First spotted on Vancouver Island, a first for Canada, experts believe they have reached the mainland. A phorid fly lays eggs inside a honeybee, and the fly larvae will eat away at the bee’s insides.
The bee will abandon its hive and appear zombie-like — disoriented and moving toward light sources — until it dies and the fly larvae bursts out. It’s unclear how much of an impact the parasites are having on the overall health of honeybee hives. Worker bees, who are primarily infected, leaving the hive is a symptom of the unexplained Colony Collapse Disorder.