I do love a good horror film, especially those of the Alex Garland sort. His two films have even had a decent television spin-off called the Walking Dead.
The world seems to have an insatiable appetite for a good Zombie story.
I see zombie hunter stickers on people’s bumpers, zombie survival books in the library and so-on. Well it seems that there is a new zombie threat. Not 28 days later, but honey bees infected with a “zombie” parasite.
You can’t make this stuff up!
Some US scientists came upon this infection a few years ago. They discovered honey bees flying erratically and some even flying at night which is very abnormal bee behavior. They captured some of the infected pollinators and began to investigate. It appears that another parasite burrows into the bee and starts to have an effect on the bees nervous system, causing it to lose motor control. Pretty disturbing stuff. The parasite lays eggs in bees, which eventually kill the host and hatch, only to repeat the cycle over and over again. (see video below)
This is yet another threat to our honey bee populations. So much so, that some scientists have set up a website called zombeewatch, which takes reports of zombie infection and assists with testing colonies.
Over the past few months there seems to be more and more data coming out that indicates Colony Collapse Disorder is an issue much more complex that previously thought. There are multiple stressors on world bee populations, not only Neonicotinoids (insecticides), but mites, fungus infections, weather, and bad beekeeping practices. This is not to say that pesticides are not having a negative impact, but that we need to take a more holistic view of threats to the world’s pollinators.
The hives are all alive and kicking so far. I haven’t done an open inspection of course since November, but the girls were out for a fly on Christmas day if you can believe it. Every week or so, I go to the apiary and clean off the bottom boards. Usually some dead foragers there, which is normal and good, because it means the nurse bees are keeping the hive clean. I hear the happy buzzing so I know they haven’t run out of food. I left them all a good bit of fondant as extra food back in the fall. This is because the temperatures often go above 0, and the bees become more active, increasing their nutritional requirements. I hope I left them enough!
Orders for New Zealand bees should be going out any day now, they are set to arrive April 1st.
We’ve partnered with Chit Chats Express for our online store (and Etsy) deliveries. We have excellent discounted rates for shipping to both the USA and Canada. We’re still offering free local pickup and delivery for local customers. We also now have international shipping available.
On January 6th out family was blessed by the birth of 6 baby Boxer Dogs. Mom Missandei is doing an amazing job, and the pups are beautiful and healthy.
Bees in the news
– 2015 Canadian Honey Production in 2015 was 95.3 million pounds, up 11%.
– Insecticide company admits data behind bee declines “Scientifically Sound”
– US Bee Populations decline 25% due to massive expansion into bio-fuel/corn.