ZomBEE Watch | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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ZomBee Watch

The Museum is partnering with San Francisco State University's Department of Biology to learn more about the zombie fly, Apocephalus borealis, and how this parasitoid (like a parasite, except they always kill their host) affects honey bees, Apis mellifera. You can join this investigation by becoming a ZomBee Hunter!


Why Should I Care about ZomBees?

If it weren't for honey bees many of the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other things we eat (did I mention honey?) would not be on our dinner tables. We have been keeping bees for thousands of years, there's even evidence of beekeeping in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. Some people say that one in every three bites of food we take are thanks to the honey bee. Whatever, the statistics are, thank a honey bee during your next meal!

ZomBees are honey bees that have been parasitized by zombie flies. We know that zombie flies have been affecting honey bees in California and South Dakota. The big mysteries that need to be solved are: Where exactly are honey bees being affected? How big of a threat are zombie flies to honey bees? Have zombie flies spread to honey bees across North America? By collecting honey bees in L.A. that look like they have been affected by the zombie fly, you can be a detective for this exciting case.

Check out the Discovery Paper!

A New Threat to Honey Bees, the Parasitic Phorid Fly Apocephalus borealis 

Co-authored by Museum Curator of Entomology, Brian Brown