Home > Mass Animal Deaths, Pestilence > US: Parasitic Infection Causing Insects To Lurch Around Until They Die Spreading Across America

US: Parasitic Infection Causing Insects To Lurch Around Until They Die Spreading Across America

By MARK PRIGG – “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.

And experts say the condition has crept into Washington state.

‘I joke with my kids that the zombie apocalypse is starting at my house,’ said Mark Hohn, a novice beekeeper who spotted the infected insects at his suburban Seattle home.

Hohn returned from vacation a few weeks ago to find many of his bees either dead or flying in jerky patterns and then flopping on the floor.

He remembered hearing about zombie bees, so he collected several of the corpses and popped them into a plastic bag. About a week later, the Kent man had evidence his bees were infected: the pupae of parasitic flies.

‘Curiosity got the better of me,’ Hohn said.

The zombie bees were the first to be confirmed in Washington state, The Seattle Times reported.

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.

The infection is another threat to bees that are needed to pollinate crops.

Hives have been failing in recent years due to a mysterious ailment called colony collapse disorder, in which all the adult honey bees in a colony suddenly die.” Read more.

Flashback: Honeybee Populations — Responsible for 90% of All Commercial Pollination — Continue to Disappear, Will Impact Humans – “Best known for prompting shrieks and swatting of air, bees rarely receive proper recognition for their contributions to humankind. But now that they are disappearing by the thousands, it will be up to humans to ensure their survival. Over the past five years, about 30 percent of the yearly captive honeybee population has died every winter, according to CNN, and about 10 percent of bees simply vanish… Though some crops such as wheat are pollinated by the wind, honeybees are responsible for the 90 percent of all commercial pollination, according to an article in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.” Read more.

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