Business, Finance & Economics

Parasitic flies may be responsible for colony collapse disorder in bees, study shows


A honeybee hovers over a flower. A new study has found that a parasitic fly may be responsible for decimating bee populations.


Prakash Mathema

A parasitic fly may be responsible for decimating bee populations, a new study in peer-reviewed science journal PLoS ONE has found. 

Scientists from Northern California have discovered the parasitic phorid fly in bees from three-quarters of the 31 hives they surveyed in the San Francisco Bay area, the Associated Press reported. The flies deposit their eggs into the bee's abdomen, which causes the bee to walk around in circles with no sense of direction.

Colony collapse disorder, which affects bee colonies in the United States and around the world, causes all the adult honey bees in a colony to disappear suddenly, often leaving no dead bodies. 

As the report reads,

Here we provide the first documentation that the phorid fly Apocephalus borealis, previously known to parasitize bumble bees, also infects and eventually kills honey bees and may pose an emerging threat to North American apiculture. Parasitized honey bees show hive abandonment behavior, leaving their hives at night and dying shortly thereafter. 

About 26 percent of apiaries in the United States reported that at least some of their colonies died of colony collapse disorder, according to a survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the US Department of Agriculture. 

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