If you’re not a long time reader of Biofortified, you might not know that I study parasitoid wasp physiology when I’m not armchair-quarterbacking head louse treatment studies. It’s not often that parasitoids end up on the news, so when they do I get super-excited. I’ll be writing this from the perspective as a parasitoid biologist. A shorter article which does an excellent job of tackling misconceptions about this paper discussed here can be found at Biodiversity in Focus . Frank likes bees too. When I was an undergraduate, I spent about a year or so working as a beekeeper. It was a fun job, and I learned all sorts of fun facts about bees. By this time I had been interested in parasitoids for nearly a decade and a half, having raised parasitic wasps out of caterpillars since I was five. Naturally, I attempted to see if there were any parasitoids which attacked Apis mellifera but I always ended up empty handed and disappointed. This always confused me because there were parasitoids which attacked ants, termites and caterpillars living in ant nests. I never understood why parasitoids had never been documented attacking honeybees. This changed earlier this week, when a description of a parasitoid fly which attacks bees was published in PLOS ONE: A New Threat to Honey Bees, the Parasitic Phorid Fly Apocephalus borealis by Core et al . Unfortunately, the authors tried way too hard to connect the fly to Colony Collapse Disorder, but I’ll discuss that later. First… What are Phorid flies
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Apocephalus borealis, a new threat to honeybees?