First confirmed case of ‘zombie bees’ discovered in NC

Photo by Claire Kimmel via WFMY
Photo by Claire Kimmel via WFMY

BANNER ELK, N.C. (WFMY) — North Carolina’s first confirmed cases of Zombie Bees have been discovered in Banner Elk, according to Zombeewatch.org.

Claire Kimmel, a beekeeper, discovered the dead bees on her front porch in September.

“My 6-year-old granddaughter was visiting and she said to her granddaddy ‘why do you have dead bees on your porch?’ We’d never seen them before, noticed them before so I put them in a little container and four or five days later they hatched out the larvae which then turned into the pupae,” Kimmel said.

The process of becoming a Zombie Bee starts when a parasitic fly attaches itself to a honey bee and injects its eggs into the bee, causing “zombie-like” behavior.

“They kind of lose their navigational abilities, they walk around in circles kind of disoriented and then they eventually die because they’re being eaten from the inside,” said Lynn Berry, a beekeeper in Collinsville, Virginia who discovered Zombie Bees at his home in early Summer.

Fly larvae burst out of their carcasses days after they die.

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