Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Zombie Bees attack Washington!

No, it's not about Washington, DC (one can only dream), a new movie or TV show. Seems it's Washington state and it's seriously bad news for beekeepers.

The infection is as grim as it sounds: 'Zombie bees' have a parasite that causes them to fly at night and lurch around erratically until they die.”

The bad news isn't just for beekeepers. Fewer bees doing their pollinating thing mean more crops failing. The list of crops is a lot longer than I would have guessed.

A small fly is the source of the problem. A female lands on the back of a bee and injects eggs into the bee, where they hatch. (Remember the movie, “Alien?)

San Francisco State University biologist John Hafernik first discovered zombie bees in California in 2008.

Hafernik now uses a website to recruit citizen scientists like Hohn to track the infection across the country. Observers also have found zombie bees in Oregon and South Dakota.”

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