Honey bees turned into ‘zombies’ by parasite: study
U.S. scientists have discovered a fly parasite that turns honey bees into confused zombies before killing them, possibly offering new clues to why bee colonies are collapsing.
So far, the parasite has only been detected in honey bees in California and South Dakota, American researchers reported in the open access science journal PLoS ONE this week.
But if it turns out to be an emerging parasite, that “underlines the danger that could threaten honey bee colonies throughout North America,” said the study led by San Francisco State University professor of biology John Hafernik.
Soon, the bees began to die, but not in the usual way by sitting still and curling up. These bees kept trying to move their legs and get around, but they were too weak, said lead author Andrew Core, a graduate student in Hafernik’s lab.
“They kept stretching them out and then falling over,” said Core. “It really painted a picture of something like a zombie.” (Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/AFP/Getty Images; NP illustration)