Author Topic: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees  (Read 1836 times)

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Offline CaseAgainstFaith

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"Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« on: January 04, 2012, 01:57:06 pm »
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A heap of dead bees was supposed to become food for a newly captured praying mantis. Instead, the pile ended up revealing a previously unrecognized suspect in colony collapse disorder a mysterious condition that for several years has been causing declines in U.S. honeybee populations, which are needed to pollinate many important crops. This new potential culprit is a bizarre and potentially devastating parasitic fly that has been taking over the bodies of honeybees (Apis mellifera) in Northern California.

John Hafernik, a biology professor at San Francisco State University, had collected some belly-up bees from the ground underneath lights around the University’s biology building. “But being an absent-minded professor,” he noted in a prepared statement, “I left them in a vial on my desk and forgot about them.” He soon got a shock. “The next time I looked at the vial, there were all these fly pupae surrounding the bees,” he said. A fly (Apocephalus borealis) had inserted its eggs into the bees, using their bodies as a home for its developing larvae. And the invaders had somehow led the bees from their hives to their deaths. A detailed description of the newly documented relationship was published online Tuesday in PLoS ONE.

The team performed a genetic analysis of the fly and found that it is the same species that has previously been documented to parasitizie bumblebee as well as paper wasp populations. That this parasite hasn’t previously been reported as a honeybee killer came as a surprise, given that “honeybees are among the best-studied insects of the world,” Hafernik said. “We would expect that if this has been a long-term parasite of honeybees, we would have noticed.”

The team found evidence of the fly in 77 percent of the hives they sampled in the Bay Area of California, as well as in some hives in the state’s agricultural Central Valley and in South Dakota. Previous research has found evidence that mites, a virus, a fungus, or a combination of these factors might be responsible for the widespread colony collapse. (Read more about colony collapse disorder in our feature “Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees.”) And with the discovery that this parasitic fly has been quietly killing bees in at least three areas, it might join the list of possible forces behind colony collapse disorder.
source - http://news.yahoo.com/zombie-fly-parasite-killing-honeybees-230200867.html

Well I wonder where this fly came from,  since colony collapse is a relatively new problem.
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Offline Vene

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 02:18:21 pm »
I would venture a guess that if it is the reason for colony collapse (or a significant contributor), it's due to something we did to mess with the environment. Maybe because it's warmer, maybe we killed a predator of it, maybe we introduced more food for the adults, or some other thing I'm not thinking of.

Offline MaybeNever

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 05:06:44 pm »
I would venture a guess that if it is the reason for colony collapse (or a significant contributor), it's due to something we did to mess with the environment. Maybe because it's warmer, maybe we killed a predator of it, maybe we introduced more food for the adults, or some other thing I'm not thinking of.

Mad scientist. Probably.
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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 07:42:58 pm »
Maybe the guy who made those fucking Cazadors did it.

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Offline Osama bin Bambi

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 07:58:49 pm »
I would venture a guess that if it is the reason for colony collapse (or a significant contributor), it's due to something we did to mess with the environment. Maybe because it's warmer, maybe we killed a predator of it, maybe we introduced more food for the adults, or some other thing I'm not thinking of.

Mad scientist. Probably.

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Offline Vene

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 07:59:35 pm »
True mad scientists experiment in public.

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 08:00:46 pm »
If I had started this thread, I would have titled it "ZOMBEES!"

Offline Stormwarden

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2012, 11:26:21 pm »
First the honeybees, then the larvae will move on to bigger and nastier prey, and before you know it, we will have a Type III infestation of animal zombies, and soon, human ones....

Could the flies carry the dreaded Solanum virus, and if so, should we begin prepping for the zombie hordes?

On a serious note, this reminds me of the fungus in the rain forest that turns ants into the walking dead. It carries far more unfortunate implications, in that the bees don't know enough to get the living dead corpses far and away from the colony, like the ants do.


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Offline Osama bin Bambi

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2012, 11:54:24 pm »
I knew a lady who thought that cell phone towers were killing the bees.
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Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 01:39:11 am »
NO!  NOT THE BEES!  NOOOO!!
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Offline Rime

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Re: "Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 05:26:09 am »
Pollination is becoming a huge concern.  With the rate of hive collapse, there could be a very serious issue with raising many types of crops.
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