Stories tagged zoology

Sep
26
2012

Dead zombie bee: Up to 80 percent of bee hives along the West Coast may be impacted by the "zombie bee" phenomenon. Parasite flies plants inside the bees, like this one, that ultimately kill them.
Dead zombie bee: Up to 80 percent of bee hives along the West Coast may be impacted by the "zombie bee" phenomenon. Parasite flies plants inside the bees, like this one, that ultimately kill them.Courtesy wintersixfour
Zombies are all the rage these days, and not just on cable TV shows or at pub crawls.

There's a growing trend in "zombie bees" working its way around the West Coast. Just this week beekeepers in Washington state report finding evidence of "zombification" of their bees.

The impacted bees get their name for their changing behaviors once they host the parasitic flies that cause the trouble. While most bees spend their nights nestled snuggling in a comb, these "zombie bees" actually go out flying in very erratic patterns. Like many other night bugs, the zombie bees fly to light and usually die quite soon.

What's really at play is that the tiny parasitic flies plant eggs into the host bee. Those eggs grow into maggots that eat the inside of the host bee that ultimately cause its demise.

Evidence of zombie bees was first found in 2008 near Sacramento, Calif., and beekeepers around the west coast have seeing the spread of the problem in the years since.

Researchers are trying to figure out if this parasite problem is a factor in the bee population declines that have been going on nationwide. One researcher has set up a website – ZombeeWatch.org – to allow amateur beekeepers to share information about zombie bees they are finding around their hives. It is also looking for people who want to step forward to be "zombee hunters."

There has been one isolated report of zombie bees in South Dakota. So far, two investigations in Minnesota have turned up no evidence of zombie bees.

Can you beat me?: Think you can outrun a cheetah? Find out how fast they are.
Can you beat me?: Think you can outrun a cheetah? Find out how fast they are.Courtesy Sue Mainka / IUCN
So we're just three days into the 2012 London Olympics and the TV coverage is already predictable. A gymnast or two has cried, an Eastern Bloc athlete has been banned for testing positive for performance-enhancing substances and the guys playing water polo have extremely "ripped" bodies. So how about shaking things up and checking out this fun feature on the animal Olympics, and find out which species, according to the Olympic motto, go stronger, higher, faster.

Whoo-hoo! It's finally Friday. And that means it's time for another Science Friday video. Science Friday
Science Friday
Courtesy Science Friday
Today,
"In some ways, Schwendeman's Taxidermy Studio is like any other small family business. David B. Schwendeman runs the shop, which was established by his grandfather nearly ninety years ago. David's nephews regularly help out. In other ways, it's not like anything you'd expect to find on Main St. in Milltown, New Jersey. Take a tour of the studio and learn how to flesh a bear, mount a rack and split an ear."

If that doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy, I don't know what will...

More on taxidermy and diorama displays from Science Friday

Just like the car dealerships, the world of wildlife has announced its new models. Actually, 163 new species of animals have been discovered on Earth in the past year. Here's a link to a slide show of some of the new discoveries. Of course, they've actually been around for more than the past year, we just didn't know about them.