Parasitic Fly Threatens Bees
There’s a new honeybee pest in North America. It’s a native A. borealis phorid fly who lays eggs inside honeybee workers. The larva change bee behavior. This fly apparently has switched hosts from native bumble bees to the honeybee.
Could this fly be a factor in some forms of CCD?
Today on Science Friday, Ira Flatow had a segment with John Hafernik, a biology professor who discovered this fly infecting honeybees. You can download or listen to the podcast. The player is in the upper left corner of the this page.
You can read the entire research article here:
It appears to be a new kind of infestation. I doubt if strange behaving honeybees, filled with phorid fly larva, would have escaped the attention of beekeepers and bee scientists.
But who knows? Sometimes we only see what we are looking for. And it often takes someone who looks at things differently to see what others look past.
I must admit noticing small phorid fly’s inside some brood chambers a half dozen years ago. I didn’t notice any infected bees. And I doubt they were the same kind of fly. There’s a bazillion different kinds of phorid flys. But they were unique inside the hive and noticeable at the time.
Infected honeybees fly at night and are attracted to light. Several years ago, I observed honeybees buzzing the screens in our home at night. Thought it was odd at the time. Hummm?
I hope this phored fly phenomena is a novelty! But it probably wouldn’t hurt to set up a light and check for infested bees as suggested in the podcast.