Zombie bees have been spotted for the first time in Canada. These bees have been infected by a parasite fly that causes the insects to die slowly, and while alive, live in a frantic state just like the zombies of the movies. The arrival of the zombees have been reported by Metro, and it sends chills down the spines of local beehive operators in Canada, particularly in Nanaimo, British Columbia (BC).
Nanaimo is part of Vancouver Island, which includes Victoria, an area characterized by lush vegetation and beaches in the Canadian western seaboard.
The flight of the living dead into Canada happens amid the steadily declining normal bee population around the world. Also, the sighting of the zombie bees for the first time in the country indicates that the sick bees are spreading across North America. According to an Inquisitr article on September 25, 2012, zombie bees were first spotted “in California in 2008 by John Hafernik, a San Francisco State University biologist.”
By 2012, samples of zombie bees have been collected in Washington state. The source dramatizes how a zombees epidemic can affect the food chain as follows.
“The infection presents another threat to the bees that are needed to pollinate crops. Several hives have been failing in recent years because of a mysterious ailment scientists are calling colony collapse disorder. The disorder comes when all the adult honey bees in a colony die suddenly with no explanation.”
Albert Einstein, who was fond of observing bees, once said that when all the bees of the world die, humankind only has four years left to live. This statement has been carefully examined by Quote Investigator as it reflects on the history of the bee population and its impact on human habitats.
Another Inquisitr article dated September 27, 2012, indicates that zombie bees have also been sighted in “in parts of Northern and Central California.”
The source also describes how a healthy bee gets infected by a parasitic fly as follows.
“The fly itself is a lot like the movie Alien. A small female lands on the back of a honeybee and injects eggs into the bee’s abdomen, which later hatch as maggots. They basically eat the insides out of the bee.”
According to Zombee Watch, the fly is known scientifically as Apocephalus borealis. The source also notes how this species has evolved recently as follows.
“The fly is native to most of North America. It has expanded its host range to include the non-native honeybee, the most important pollinator of agricultural crop.”
So based on the source, there are really no zombie bees — strictly speaking. Honey bees transform into zombie bees once they get infected by Apocephalus borealis. Also, note that the parasitic fly didn’t prey on honeybees in the past. Rather, this behavior change happened only recently. In the light of these changes, is it possible for humans to get infected by zombees?
[Warning: Spoiler alert for the World War Z movie!
In the movie World War Z, the protagonist discovers that the human zombie epidemic is actually caused by a virus that makes infected humans behave erratically and thirst for human flesh and blood. Note the following observed behavior from the original Metro news story, told from the first-person point of view of a beehive operator in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
“She noticed a few bees acting strangely — they were buzzing around a nearby light after dark. They were quite frantic about the way they were flying into the light so [she] didn’t think that was normal.”
Another Inquisitr article on the subject of zombie bees, this time, dated January 31, 2014, states that the good thing about the spread of the infected bees is that it’s only localized within the United States. Well, today is August 16, 2016, and as the Metro article reports, the zombie bees have touched down in Canada.
The book and the movie Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is instructive not only about dinosaurs but about life in general. It suggests that it’s unethical to do any kind of cloning or otherwise tinker with life because it can lead to unexpected future disasters. Life, the Crichton epic suggests, has a tendency to break forth in unexpected ways when humans try to contain or suppress it.
However, in the case of zombie bees, humankind did not have to interfere with mother nature to cause a parasitic fly to find a new host in the honey bee. It appears that the tiny Apocephalus borealis figured it out on its own. The larvae of the original infecting fly inside the bee’s body eventually turn into shells, thereby causing the infected honey bee to rupture to pieces.
It is a picture so similar to the metamorphosis of an infected human into a full-fledged zombie, which is dramatized in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and in the Walking Dead TV series. Of course, you will need a microscope to actually figure out the scenario with zombie bees, but does it get any less scary?
So what’s in store for the zombie bees now that these insects have migrated to Canada? As Crichton says, life breaks forth the moment you try to contain it. And now that the zombie bees have crossed the border, there’s no telling how far these insects can go and what kinds of scenarios to expect.
[Photo by Dimas Ardian/Getty Images]