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‘Zombee’ apocalypse just latest honeybee plague (VIDEO)

Zombie fly attacking US honeybees, scientists launch Zombeewatch.org.

Zombee apocalypse honey beesEnlarge
Bees cover a honeycomb rack as urban beekeeper Erika Mayr checks on the health as well as the honey content of one of her honey bee colonies on the roof of a building in Kreuzberg district on May 22, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Mayr is among a growing number of city dwellers who are giving urban beekeeping a try. She maintains colonies that contain approximately 200,000 bees at two rooftop locations in Berlin, and sells the 100kg of honey she harvests annually at local markets. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Scientists are recruiting zombie hunters in an effort to help preserve the much beleaguered honeybee population, launching Zombeewatch.org this week to gather research from across the continent.

Earlier this year, researchers discovered honeybees in California and South Dakota acting erratically – flying at night, abandoning hives and generally stumbling around.

Upon closer inspection, they found parasitic fly larvae hatching from inside bees in California.

The culprit was the zombie fly, which was using honeybees as host for their offspring.

More from GlobalPost: Honeybees disappearing in the US (VIDEO)

San Francisco State University biology professor John Hafernik found almost three-quarters of sampled bees suffered from zombie fly attacks.

“We found that they walked around in circles, often with no sense of direction,” said Andrew Core, lead author on the study published in Plos One. “They kept stretching [their legs] out and then falling over. It really painted a picture of something like a zombie.”

It’s considered another possible cause of colony collapse disorder, a frightening trend that’s affecting honeybees around the world.
Bee pollination is essential for crops and plant production.

To determine the zombie fly’s impact, Zombeewatch.org offers detailed instructions on how to study honeybees.

“If we can enlist a dedicated group of citizen scientists to help us, together we can answer important questions and help honeybees at the same time,” Hafernik said, according to Scientific American.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120725/zombee-apocalypse-just-latest-honeybee-plague-video