Zombie Honeybees

The thought of a zombie apocalypse is a thing of Hollywood fantasy, where humans are taken over and reduced to brainless, flesh-eating drones. While human zombies are all fiction, a beneficial insect that’s been down on their luck lately are the next real victim of zombification. A newly discovered parasite has been found culprit in converting honeybees to the living dead.



The thought of a zombie apocalypse is a thing of Hollywood fantasy, where humans are taken over and reduced to brainless, flesh-eating drones. While human zombies are all fiction, a beneficial insect that’s been down on their luck lately are the next real victim of zombification. A newly discovered parasite has been found culprit in converting honeybees to the living dead.

Research by San Francisco State University has found that a parasitic fly (Apocephalus borealis) essentially sucks the life out of bees after using their live bodies as both a source of food and shelter. Once the fly larvae matures, it leaves behind the bee’s body, which is still alive and able to fly but lacks any direction or cognitive abilities.

According to one researcher (quoted in the story on Digital Journal), “When we observed the bees for some time—the ones that were alive—we found that they walked around in circles, often with no sense of direction. They kept stretching them out and then falling over. It really painted a picture of something like a zombie.”

This bizarre phenomenon could lead to more information about colony collapse disorder, the affliction that has led to a drastic drop in the honeybee population.

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