Zombee Watch - Collecting ZomBees | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

New Exhibits Open!

L.A. is more wild than you think! Come celebrate the transformation of NHM into an indoor-outdoor Museum!
Learn More

Community Science Meetups

Join us as we use Los Angeles as a field site for science. Community Science Meetups are opportunities to participate in different projects for a single day, while working alongside participants, from beginners to professionals, with varied nature and science experiences. It is a team environment so all are welcome!

Learn More

Nature in L.A. Blog

Follow the Nature in L.A. blog to keep up on research, community science, and the latest urban nature stories from around the city, as told by NHMLA scientists who live and study in L.A.
Nature in L.A.​

Insects of the LA Basin - Available Now!

Check out the 3rd edition of Insects of the Los Angeles Basin and learn about the amazing diversity of insects that share our city!

Revised and edited by James N. Hogue, with a new preface by NHM's Entomology Curator Brian Brown!

Learn More

Order Today


Collecting ZomBees

Here are some tools and tips to help you be a better ZomBee Hunter!



Before you go out ZomBee hunting, you need to be prepared! Here's a list of the tools you'll need:

  • Resealable containers
  • Tweezers of forceps
  • Pen and adhesive labels
  • Notebook
  • Camera
  • Light trap (optional)

Collecting Protocol

For each different location where you find ZomBees, follow these instructions:

  • Using forceps place the ZomBee(s) into one of your resealable containers.
  • Label the container with the date and location.
  • If you notice anything else interesting, be sure to write it down in your notebook. These notes will be helpful for you later when you submit your information on the website.
  • Take a picture of your ZomBees. Pictures from your phone's camera are fine. Try and get the most in focus picture you can.

Making a Light Trap (Optional)

If you find a location where you are noticing a large number of ZomBees, or you are a beekeeper and want to monitor your hives, you can construct your own light trap. There are three different types of light trap you can construct with materials you might already have at home.

Check out ZomBee Watch's tutorial for instructions on how make your own light trap.

Checking Your ZomBee Samples

Day 1

Bring your containers inside and store them in a secure place away from the sun. Bees in these situations are not healthy and die quickly. 

Check your samples periodically for zombie flies:

Days 5-14

You can expect to find zombie fly maggots emerging from the bees, or brown pill-shaped pupae. 

If pupae emerge take note of how many and take a picture. Submit the picture to your ZomBee Watch data set.

Days 14-30

You can expect to find adult flies during this time.

If you observe adult flies take a note of how many and take a picture. Submit the picture to your data set.

When all the flies have emerged preserve them in a labeled container with rubbing alcohol. ZomBee Watch staff may ask you to mail them in, so store them in a safe and easy to find place.