Today in zombie apocalypse news: Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... the putrid corpse of a fly-parasitized honey bee lurching through the air on "a flight of the living dead!" In other words, it's a ZomBee!!! Yes, it's true -- zombie bees really do exist. I'm talking about in real life, not some campy 50's horror flick (Attack of the Killer ZomBees!) or even some 60's musical sitcom in which people say they're ZomBee-in' around, but they're too busy buzzing to put anybody down. (Sorry, I tried to stop myself. No I didn't.)
Anyway, zombie bees aren't just real, they're getting to be a real problem. Originally discovered in California in 2008, the epidemic is spreading to Washington state, Oregon, and South Dakota, and it's posing a legit threat to the honey bee population. How does a bee become a ZomBee, exactly? Well, the process ain't pretty, so squeamish types should stop here ...
Okay, so basically the zombeefication goes like this: A female zombie fly (Apocephalus borealis) lands on a honeybee's back and -- oh lord, this is sooooo gross -- injects her eggs into the bee's abdomen. Then -- oh lord, this is soooo gross -- the eggs hatch into maggots and eat the insides of the bee!!! Then they pupate (grossest word ever) and a few weeks later, TADA! A ZomBee is born!
So, the good news is, ZomBees can't infect humans or even hurt us in any way, except maybe to contribute to the rising rate of hive failures (read: no more honey?!). The bad news is, ZomBees are probably coming to a town near you, which is gross. Spotting ZomBees is easy, at least: Just watch for the bees who come out at night, staggering flying erratically towards the nearest source of brains light.
Honestly, I don't think I even want to eat honey ever again. Gross.
Have ZomBees hit your hometown yet?
Image via A Davis/Flickr