As if colony collapse disorder wasn’t misery enough, now the beleaguered honeybee has parasitic flies to deal with as recently reported in Washington State. The parasitic flies are native, but have never been known to target honeybees, a European import. Flies lay their eggs in the bees, which cause erratic behaviour including leaving the hive at night and being unable to fly back, resulting in death. The erratic movement has been referred to as ‘zombie-like’. Rather unfortunate with Halloween coming up. Hopefully, the issues can be solved on the west coast!
Watch a video here on the Weather Network.
But Paul van Westendorp, provincial apiculturist at the BC Ministry of Agriculture, isn’t so sure that this is a new issue to be concerned about. He claims that the flies – scuttle flies, to be precise – lay their eggs in sick or dying bees which then leave the hive to prevent polluting the hive with their carcasses. At this time of year when food sources are more scarce, there is a concomitant increase in affected bees as they die off. So, the zombie bee is just a myth.