If someone mentioned the word zombie a picture of walking moaning human corpses with a taste for flesh would most likely pop into your mind. If asked if zombies were real or if anyone has ever encountered them your answer would probably be no. But who said zombies have to be of the human race?
A movie phenomenon that has been giving kids nightmares for decades has now been terrifying the dreams of another species, bees. An emerging deadly “disease” has spread across the US and is causing zombie bees to pop up everywhere. The event may not be new, but the host is different. First the bumble bee now its honey cousin have been hit with a complex and deadly parasite that is turning the bee world upside down.
A parasite, named Apocephalus borealis, commonly known as the phorid fly has been turning honey bees into mindless zombies flying around wondrously until they die. The phorid fly attaches to the bee and lays its eggs. The bee leaves the hive and flies around until it dies a few days later. The pupate then emerges from the dead bee. The reason for this bee hive abandonment is believed to be caused by pathogens that the phorid fly gives to the bee when the eggs are laid.
The problem this is causing in the bee world is that it threatens to spread and kill all the honey bees in North America and spread elsewhere. This just doesn’t mean no more honey bees. It means products like moisturizers, sweeteners, and other bee related items that depend on bees will be gone.
This may seem bad but the worse is what will happen to the plants that surround us. A huge majority of plants or crops rely on bees to pollinate them every year. Some crops like blueberries and cherries rely on bees for 90% of pollination. Almonds depend entirely on bee for pollination each year at bloom time. Over 10 million colonies of bees are used to pollinate the almond trees in California alone.
It’s easy to take the little guys for granted, but this is a mini apocalypse waiting to happen. In the past few years alone it seems one thing after another has been threatening the honey bee’s existence. You don’t typically think about the affects bees have in our lives, but it is one you should consider. So next time you see a honey bee flying around and you are thinking of killing it stop!, and think zombies, disease, war. Do you really want to add to the problem?