Saturday, 29 September 2012

'Zombie' Honeybees Spread Along West Coast

Earlier this year, researchers discovered that fly parasites were turning honeybees across the San Francisco Bay area into disoriented, zombie-like wanderers that dropped dead with maggots ready to burst out of their bodies. Other cases were reported in commercial hives in South Dakota and central California. And now the parasite has hit honeybees in Oregon and Washington State, the researchers confirmed.
Scientists first reported the discovery of the Apocephalus borealis infections in January. Several months later, they launched, a website that tracks where the "zombie" bees have been documented. The group encourages citizen scientists to send in samples of dead bees they think might be infected with the parasite — a strategy that led to the confirmation of more cases along the West Coast.

"I joke with my kids that the zombie apocalypse is starting at my house," novice beekeeper Mark Hohn told The Seattle Times. Hohn collected dead honeybees on his property in Kent, near Seattle, and sent them to the researchers.


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