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Help! Zombees are invading the East Coast

3 February 2014, 8:11 am EST By Vamien McKalin Tech Times
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Something very interesting is happening; something very zombie-like, and it has nothing to do with the new season of the Walking Dead or the zombie-like creatures in Game of Thrones. What we're dealing with here are honey bees with a zombie-like symptom that seems to be spreading rapidly.

Make no mistake, zombie bees are real, and they have been discovered in the United States in Burlington, VT, reports the ABC. A farmer found the lifeless bodies of countless healthy bees in a zombie-like state, leaving researchers to conclude that these bees were victims to the zombie bee infestation.

Researchers found that zombie bees are created when a parasitic fly (Apocephalus borealis) enters the beehive. Apparently, these parasitic flies will lay their eggs inside the stomach of bees, which in turn leads to the bees' imminent death. The zombie-state in these infected bees begins to take shape after the eggs are hatched, which releases maggots inside the insects. The maggots begin to eat the bees from the inside out, causing the poor insects to fly around and wander like a zombie.

"They fly around in a disoriented way, get attracted to light, and then fall down and wander around in a way that's sort of reminiscent of zombies in the movies," John Hafernick, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University, told ABC News. "Sometimes we've taken to calling [it], when they leave their hives, 'the flight of the living dead.'"

Professor Hafernick first discovered the zombie bees back in 2008 in California and has been studying it ever since.

"It's sort of a combination of zombies and aliens mixed together," he said.

It's very interesting how nature works. However, this isn't the first insect to fall in a zombie state due to infection by another creature. There's a deadly parasitic fungus called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis that attacks the brain of the Camponotus leonardi ant (also known as carpenter ant) and takes control over the ant's brain, directing it to a position at the top of a tree or plant. Once there, the fungus kills the ant and grows out of its head.

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