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This bee is not having a good day. (Alain C.)

Zombees Have Made it Across the U.S.

That gives us what, 28 days left?

smithsonian.com

Bees are having a really, really bad time right now. They're being killed by mites, by viruses, by spores. They're malnourished by the monoculture, they're being poisoned by pesticides, and they're stuffed with high fructose corn syrup. Now, flies are laying eggs in their abdomens—parasites that mind control the bees and send them to their deaths.

Katherine Harmon wrote about the new rash of parasitism in 2012 when it was first discovered affecting honeybees in California.

The parasitic fly lays eggs in a bee’s abdomen. Several days later, the parasitized bee bumbles out of the hives—often at night—on a solomission to nowhere. These bees often fly toward light and wind up unable to control their own bodies. After a bee dies, as many as 13 fly larvae crawl out from the bee’s neck.

When we observed the bees for some time—the ones that were alive—we found that they walked in circles, often with no sense of direction,” Andrew Core, a graduate student who works with Hafernik and a co-author on the new paper, said in a prepared statement, describing them as behaving “something like a zombie.

But from California the parasite spread, and now, says the Associated Press, the the zombees have made it to Vermont.

“Right now, we don't know if it's an isolated thing," Stephen Parise, Vermont agricultural production specialist, said Tuesday at the state's annual farm show.

According to the website ZombeeWatch.org, a citizen science website set up to help bee keepers track the spread of the parasite, however, it would seem that the rash of zombee infestations is far from contained:

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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