So last night was a hot night in Seattle, and around 10:15 PM (just after it got dark) I noticed three bees had flown into my bedroom though my open balcony doors and were buzzing around the light.
Being a rookie, I thought “not that I mind your company, girls, but what are you doing flying after dark?” and rescued them to outside, then shut all the doors and windows. After that I noticed at least one more bouncing gently against the window trying to get in. Thinking back, there was another warm night a few weeks ago where I rescued another bee out of my bedroom, too. I nievely thought “aww, that’s sweet, one of the girls came to keep me comapny while I watch this bee documentery.” I didn’t think too much of it. Mosquitoes and flies head for the lights, so it didn’t seem surprising that bees might too, though the idea of stinging insects coming in at night was mildly worrisome. No one mentioned that part of backyard beekeeping to me before.
I randomly posted something on Facebook about the nocturnal visitors, and another beekeeper friend, Alyssa replied that maybe my bees had the zombie parasite.
Seriously? Just when I thought I was starting to know some things about bees, ZOMBIES BEES?
Yeah, so apparently ZomBees are a thing. There’s this nasty fly that somehow lays its larvae in the abdomen of bees, which causes the bees to act all zombie-like and includes behavior like erratic night-time “flights of the living dead” right before they die, and they are attracted to light. They die when the larvae hatch out of their abdomens. So pretty much it’s like a bee horror show mash-up: Zombies plus Alien. Great…
I don’t know if my bees are infected ZomBees, yet, but from my limited early research, flying at night isnt a good thing. Poor bees. 😦
I’ve posted my questions over on the BeeMaster forums, and I guess I’ll see what comes of that. I’ll also be trying to catch some of those sleepwalking bees when I’m home tomorrow night for further investigation.
So, yeah. ZomBees.
This beekeeping thing is turning into quite a weird adventure.