(Tom Bayly / Creative Commons / MGN)

Mysterious ‘zombie bee’ scourge reaches southern US

NORFOLK (AP) – Researchers announced this week that the mysterious “zombie bee” parasite that kills honeybees has spread to Virginia. It’s the first southern state to record the phenomenon, which was first discovered in California in 2008 and has affected bees in states including Oregon, South Dakota and New York.

Flies attach themselves to the bees and inject their eggs, causing erratic “zombie-like” behavior in the bees such as flying at night. The bees often die within hours. Fly larvae burst out of their carcasses days later.

Scientists still don’t know if “zombie bees” play a significant role in the pollinator’s decline. Honeybees contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and already fall prey to mites, viruses and Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees disappear or abandon their hives.

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