DEC 11, 2018 6:37 PM PST

What is a Zombee?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

You may or may not have heard of a zombee, which is essentially a zombified bee. Zombees are bees that have been infected by the phorid fly (Apocephalus borealis), and they are easily discernable by their strange behavioral patterns that you wouldn’t typically observe in standard bees.

Phorid flies can be found throughout the United States, and they’re known for infecting bumblebees. Unfortunately, they’ve since started attacking honeybees, which as you might come to expect, comes with some unfortunate implications given the honeybee’s importance.

After a phorid fly selects a host, it infects the bee by laying eggs inside of the insect’s abdomen. Those eggs later hatch and the larvae grow inside of the bee, safe from the elements. As the larvae develop, the bee becomes erratic, behaving in ways it usually wouldn’t.

Infected bees are known to be attracted to sources of light, leave the hive late at night, and walk around aimlessly in circles. Although they seem disoriented, they can still sting, so it’s best to keep your distance.

Not only does the phorid fly contribute to colony collapse disorder, but zombees don’t follow the same tight pollination schedule that a healthy bee would. This impacts our food supply and causes problems for the species.

Researchers are actively sampling regions of the United States to learn where bees are being infected, and much of the research is still a work in progress. In the San Francisco Bay area alone, at least 77% of beehives were infected by the phorid bee.

If we don’t think of something to keep the phorid fly at bay, then honeybee populations across the nation could have just one more factor preventing them from thriving.

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 10, 2022
Plants & Animals
Cutting calories and timely eating increases mice longevity
MAY 10, 2022
Cutting calories and timely eating increases mice longevity
Who doesn’t want to live forever? Let’s face it, the whole mortality thing is boring, and we want to be aliv ...
MAY 08, 2022
Microbiology
A Relative of Some of the World's Deadliest Viruses is Found in Europe
MAY 08, 2022
A Relative of Some of the World's Deadliest Viruses is Found in Europe
African fruit bats are the natural hosts of Marburg and Ebola viruses, both of which are filoviruses. These RNA viruses ...
MAY 13, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
How Do Bananas Ripen? The Dynamics of Spot Formation Reveal Secrets About Keeping the Fruit Fresh
MAY 13, 2022
How Do Bananas Ripen? The Dynamics of Spot Formation Reveal Secrets About Keeping the Fruit Fresh
A study out of Florida State University sets the foundation to reduce the 50 million tons of food waste per year linked ...
MAY 27, 2022
Plants & Animals
Strong as Steel: Hemp Reinforcing Bar
MAY 27, 2022
Strong as Steel: Hemp Reinforcing Bar
Can hemp building materials prevent dangerous crises such as the recent Surfside building collapse in Miami, or crumblin ...
JUN 03, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
Poultry Vaccine Led to Increase in Antibiotic Resistance in Salmonella
JUN 03, 2022
Poultry Vaccine Led to Increase in Antibiotic Resistance in Salmonella
The Salmonella bacterium is a common cause of foodborne illness, and it isn't unusual to find strains of the microbe in ...
JUL 14, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
The Oldest Traces of Fire Discovered using AI
JUL 14, 2022
The Oldest Traces of Fire Discovered using AI
Scientists have discovered evidence of fire dating back at least 800,000 years. Fire has been essential to human evoluti ...
Loading Comments...