Apocephalus Borealis, The Deadly Bee Parasite

The Deadly Bee Parasite, Apocephalus borealis

The puzzling colony collapse disorder (CCD), which has hounded many commercial beekeepers (keeping honey bees via organic means will prevent any incidences of CCD), can be attributed to a deadly parasite reported in January of 2012 at the San Francisco Bay Area.

Biologists in San Francisco made a disturbing discovery that might shed light on the mysterious drop in the population of honeybees. A fly, Apocephalus borealis, which is the same fly that is known to infect wasps and bumblebees, seem to infect and turn bees into zombies. The infected bees are driven mad so that they abandon their hives in a suicidal dash towards bright lights.

Apocephalus Borealis

Apocephalus Borealis

The parasite, which is a tiny fly, has been discovered in bees from three-quarters of all the thirty one surveyed hives in the Bay Area, which means that they are everywhere except in the Santa Clara and the San Mateo counties.

Apocephalus borealis first deposits its eggs inside the abdomen of the bee. After that, it takes over. The infected bees then walk around in circles as if dazed, with no apparent sense of direction. Some bees are even unable to stand on their legs. Many bees keep stretching in an effort to stand but falls back over and over, thus the “zombie” behavior which is used to describe the effect of the infestation.

Some scientists theorized that Apocephalus borealis might have played a major role in the unexplained colony collapse disorder. For six years, many researchers including those from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have failed to pinpoint an exact cause for CCD.

Apocephalus Borealis

The parasitic Apocephalus borealis even seem to engage in mind control. Somehow, the flies are able to take over the bee’s normal daytime habits, eventually turning the bee into a nocturnal animal. And seven days after the death of the infected bee, little larvae will emerge from the bee. The bees from the infected hives are usually found to be infected with a virus and a fungus. This suggests that the Apocephalus borealis may be a vector or a carrier for these pathogens.

The loss of worker bees can ultimately kill the entire hive. And when there are no bees, then there’s no pollination and no plants. When there are no plants, there is no food. Profitable beekeeping can also be achieved in an organically structured environment. The bee products derived from organically-grown bees are healthy and free from many types of contaminants. Moreover, the bees are also treated humanely. If you are thinking of buying certain bee products or starting a beekeeping business, then it is best to go organic. Get the most updated and well-researched articles about the organic way to grow and care for your honey bees. To know more, visit Organic Bee Keeping.

About the Author

Tommy Coffler is an expert author and blogger from London. His articles have appeared in many article directories and different websites around the world. You can read some of his articles at Organic Bee Keeping.

We did have a very interesting video about Apocephalus borealis, but it the YouTube account it was on was closed so it is no longer available. instead we have a link to the information that wikipedia have about the topic.


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