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
AUG 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Muscle Cells Revealed Contracting at the Subcellular Level
AUG 09, 2021
Muscle Cells Revealed Contracting at the Subcellular Level
Muscle cells were once thought to be the smallest units that experienced contraction. But new research has suggested tha ...
AUG 12, 2021
Plants & Animals
Why Sunflower Heads Face East
AUG 12, 2021
Why Sunflower Heads Face East
You may have noticed that sunflowers can move their 'heads' or capitula to track the sun as its position changes during ...
AUG 17, 2021
Plants & Animals
Neandertal genome gives insight into their social structure
AUG 17, 2021
Neandertal genome gives insight into their social structure
A new study sequenced Neandertal DNA, revealing the first father-daughter pair and other clues about social life.
AUG 26, 2021
Health & Medicine
Hoover Dam is going dry: Water shortage declared for the first time ever in the USA
AUG 26, 2021
Hoover Dam is going dry: Water shortage declared for the first time ever in the USA
We have all heard of the famous “bathtub ring” around Lake Mead (AZ, MN) and many have seen photos and video ...
AUG 31, 2021
Health & Medicine
Your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
AUG 31, 2021
Your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
A new study shows that, yes, your metabolism does slow down as you age, but not until you're over 60
SEP 05, 2021
Cardiology
Eating Walnuts & Pecans Can Help Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol
SEP 05, 2021
Eating Walnuts & Pecans Can Help Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol
Some nuts, especially walnuts, have high levels of healthy fats like Omega-3. New research reported in Circulation has s ...
Loading Comments...