Yvonne Carts-Powell

Track Bees, Looking for Zombies

In beautiful, hilarious, Science, technology, writing on September 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm

There are parasites that can take control of the host’s behavior, turning them into critters that are still alive, but don’t behave normally. In other words: zombies. In this specific case, a flea that parasitizes honey bees makes them leave the hive at night, and go in circles around lights until they die.

But what happens before then? We don’t know. So grad student Chris Quock at SF State U. is trying to find out, by watching the behavior of many bees.

Unfortunately, bees all look alike. So he’s tagging them with a light-powered RFID chip that is about the size of a piece of glitter, and automating the reading their comings and goings from the hive. Read my story about it: Optics & Photonics News – Researchers Track Zombie Bees with Lasers.

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