A new study shows how this parasitic fly hijacks the bees’ bodies and causes them to abandon their hives. The fly deposits its eggs into the bee’s abdomen, causing the infected bee to exhibit zombie-like behavior, walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. The bee then leaves the hive at night and dies.
The study is published on PLoS ONE.
It’s quite likely that the great bee die-off is not ultimately being caused by any single one of these but by all of them – and more. Honey bees are caught up in the vast business of agriculture, trucked all over the country from one plantation to another so they can pollinate the crops and produce honey at the same time. The honey is taken from them and they’re fed mostly sugar water.
Bees don’t have complex immune systems. They’ve never needed them – until now. No surprise, then, that they get sick and have little resistance when a new threat comes along.
What you can do: Stop eating honey. Use one of the other sweeteners and syrups like agave nectar. Don’t patronize this enormously exploitive industry.