Halloween Week: Help Scientists Battle Zombees

Honey bee colonies are subject to numerous pathogens and parasites. Adrian Gonzalez Jersey Interaction among multiple pathogens and parasites is the proposed cause for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a syndrome characterized by worker bees abandoning their hive. Last year scientists from the San Francisco State University provided the first documentation that the phorid fly Apocephalus borealis, previously known to parasitize bumble bees, also infected and eventually killed honey bees and may pose an emerging threat to North American apiculture.

Scientists say the fly deposits its eggs into the bee’s abdomen, causing the insect to walk around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. The bee exhibits zombie-like behaviour, said lead investigator John Hafernik. Parasitised honey bees show hive abandonment behavior, leaving the hive at night and dying shortly thereafter. On average, seven days later up to 13 phorid larvae emerge from each dead bee and pupate away from the bee. Using DNA barcoding, the researchers confirmed that phorids that emerged from honey bees and bumble bees were the same species.

Microarray analyses of honey bees from infected hives revealed that these bees are often infected with deformed wing virus and Nosema ceranae. Larvae and adult phorids also tested positive for these pathogens, implicating the fly as a potential vector or reservoir of these honey bee pathogens. Air Jordan 5 Uomo Phorid parasitism may affect hive viability since 77% of sites sampled in the San Francisco Bay Area were infected by the fly and microarray analyses detected phorids in commercial hives in South Dakota and California’s Central Valley.

To learn more about how the parasitic fly affects the bees’ behavior, the scientists have built a system to track the movements of infected bees in and out of a hive. cheap fjallraven kanken Each bee has a set of tiny radio frequency trackers — each no bigger than a fleck of glitter — attached to the top of its thorax. Tennis Nike The bees leave and return to the hive through a small tube outfitted with dual laser readers that interact with the individual trackers.

Knowing exactly when bees leave–and whether they come back–is important for understanding how and when the parasites might cause the bees to abandon their hives. The original study found bees disoriented and dying at night, for instance, but the researchers aren’t sure whether the infected bees only leave their hives to fly in the dark. adidas cloudfoam hombre The researchers hope to capitalize on the interest in the bees with a citizen science project called ZomBee Watch.

ZomBee Watch has three main goals. nike air max nederland 1. To determine where in North America the Zombie Fly Apocephalus borealis is parasitizing honey bees. Under Armour Curry One 2. To determine how often honey bees leave their hives at night, even if they are not parasitized by the Zombie Fly. 3. To engage citizen scientists in making a significant contribution to knowledge about honey bees and to become better observers of nature. fjallraven kanken mochilas If you live in the United States, they need your help finding out where honey bees are being parasitized by the Zombie Fly and how big a threat the fly is to honey bees. So far, the Zombie Fly has been found parasitizing honey bees in California and South Dakota.