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Science & Environment

Parasite Turns Bees Into Zombie-Like Creatures

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's Halloween, so it's prime time to hear from a California biologist who studies an otherwise obscure subject.

JOHN HAFERNIK: From time to time, I give talks, and I call it The Flight of the Living Dead.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

John Hafernik of San Francisco State studies the zombie fly. It lays eggs inside a honeybee turning the bee into a zom-bee.

HAFERNIK: Flying out of their hives at night, a time when bees shouldn't be active, coming to lights and then flying around in a really disoriented kind of like zombie-like fashion.

MONTAGNE: The parasite was first observed on the West Coast during studies on declining bee populations. And now, there are zom-bee sightings as far east as Pennsylvania. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.