In the world of cinema, chestbusters are the emerging embryos of facehuggers. This real-world chestbuster is the larva of a parasitic fly.
Scientists say the fly deposits its eggs into the bee's abdomen, causing the infected bee to exhibit zombie-like behavior by walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. The bee leaves the hive at night and dies shortly thereafter...
Hafernik stumbled onto the parasitic fly by accident. Three years ago, the biology professor looked for something to feed a praying mantis. He found some bees outside his classroom, placed them in a vial and forgot about them. When he looked at the vial a week later, he found dead bees surrounded by small fly pupae. A parasitic fly was feeding on the bees and had killed them, he said.The fly is a known parasite in bumble bees. Scientists used DNA barcoding to confirm the parasite in the honey bees and bumble bees was the same species.The fly might have recently expanded its host presence from bumble bees to honey bees, Hafernik said, making it an emerging threat to agricultural pollinators. The fact that honey bees live in large colonies placed in close proximity to one another and beekeepers frequently move the hives throughout the country could lead to an explosion of the fly population, he said.
This recent discovery could possibly be one factor in the recent epidemic of colony-collapse disorder in honeybees. I'll come back to the topic of parasitic insects later this winter re the world of butterflies.