Zombie bees are spreading out throughout the west coast, spreading the parasite that causes them to fly at night and dart aimlessly until they die.
After being spotted in Washington earlier this week, the zombie bees have now been found further into California, NBCBayArea.com reported. Officials in Southern California are in the midst of testing to see whether the infection has spread to local hives after several infected hives were found in parts of Northern and Central California.
Mark Hohn, a novice beekeeper who saw some of the infected bees near his Seattle home, said he returned from a vacation a few weeks ago to find his bees dying off in large numbers. Those that hadn’t already died were flying in jerky patterns before flopping on the floor, NBCBayArea.com reported.
“I joke with my kids that the zombie apocalypse is starting at my house,” Hohn said.
He scooped a few of the dead bees to see if it was the zombie bee virus he had heard about, and scientists were able to determine that they were infected with the pupae of parasitic flies.
The zombie bees he found were the first to be confirmed in Washington state, The Seattle Times reported. They have actually been in California since 2008, discovered by San Francisco State University biologist John Hafernik.
Scientists see the zombie bees as a threat to crops that require pollination.
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,” Hafernik said.