It all started at the home of Kent's Mark Hohn, a man the Times describes as an amateur bee keeper. Apparently, upon arriving home from vacation, Hohn found a pile of dead bees outside his shop. He didn't think much of it, until he encountered some strangely acting bees hanging around a light at his house, and remembered the so-called "zombie bees" at the heart of a 2008 discovery by San Francisco State University biologist John Hafernik.
Hafernik's discovery involves a parasitic fly that pumps its eggs into unknowing bees, causing them to go all zombie. And it's serious stuff. Hafernik wonders whether the parasitic flies could be, "contributing to the demise of bee colonies across the country," according to the Times, and has even launched a website - ZombeeWatch.org (get it?) - to help gather information from beekeepers like Hohn from across the country. So far there's not a ton of evidence suggesting such a phenomenon is taking place, but, you know ... we're talking about zombie bees here!
From the Times:
Unlike healthy bees, which spend the night tucked up in their hive, infected bees fly after dark and tend to congregate at lights. Hohn noticed bees buzzing around the light in his shop, flying in jerky patterns and finally flopping on the floor.
What's up with those "jerky" flying patterns and death flopping?
Oh, you know, just some hardcore zombie shit.
More from the Times:
The fly's life cycle is gruesomely reminiscent of the movie "Alien" -- though they don't pose a risk to people. Adult females, smaller than a fruit fly, land on the backs of foraging honeybees and use their needle-sharp ovipositors to inject eggs into the bee's abdomen. The eggs hatch into maggots. "They basically eat the insides out of the bee," Hafernik said.
Jesus. We're all going to die.
Or, at the very least, maybe some bees are going to die.