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If deadly viruses and fungi weren't enough, honeybees in North America now must also deal with a fly parasite that causes them to leave their hive and die after wandering about in a zombie-like stupor, a new study shows.
Scientists previously found that the parasitic fly, Apocephalus borealis, infects and ultimately kills bumblebees and paper wasps, while the "decapitating fly," an insect in the same genus, implants its eggs in ants...
San Francisco biologists have made a macabre discovery that might help explain the mysterious crash of honeybee populations: parasites that turn bees into zombies.
Infected bees go mad, abandoning their hive in a suicidal rush toward bright lights, according to a new study by San Francisco State researchers.
"It's the flight of the living dead," said lead investigator and biology professor John Hafernik, also president of the California Academy of Sciences.
The parasite, a tiny fly, has been found in bees from three-quarters of the 31 surveyed hives in the Bay Area -- essentially, everywhere except Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.