The perks of being a Google engineer have long been touted as the best in the biz. Spoiled engineers can enjoy a gourmet meal following a mid-afternoon dip in the wave pool before being shuttled home in wifi-equipped private buses.
Scientific American reports that the Googleplex in Mountain View is full of honeybee hives, some of which have been infected by a parasite that turns the bees into zombies.
We had captured another possible ZomBee—an Apis mellifera honeybee that might have been parasitized by the Apocephalus borealis, a type of phorid fly. The fly’s brood eats the living tissue of their soon-dead hosts, leaving empty, sometimes headless husks.
Hope you’re not reading this while eating lunch!
Once infected, the zombified honeybees tend to leave the nest at night, “attracted to a glass door behind the hives as Googlers burned the midnight oil inside.” You hear that, overworked Googlers? You are killing honeybees.
Alright, not really–the parasite is actually doing that, but the infection and subsequent death of Google’s honeybees doesn’t bode well for the population as a whole. For now, interested Googlers are aiding honeybee researchers by assembling a roving ZomBee Watch team, which keeps a helpful eye on the hives. Is there anything Googlers can’t do?