Grist List

Guam is entirely infested with spiders, and it’s all the fault of invasive snakes

The island of Guam has up to 40 times the normal number of spiders — on average, about one spiderweb every two feet during the rainy season. And if that’s not enough, it’s also infested with brown tree snakes. That’s not a coincidence. According to a study published in PLoS, Guam’s spider explosion comes from its lack of bug-eating birds, which in turn comes from its overabundance of the invasive snakes, which were introduced to the island in the 1940s.

Scientists are using new technology to identify zombie bees

Some of the scientists investigating the mysterious honeybee die-offs suspect zombie bees, bees that are being mind-controlled by parasitic scuttle fly maggots. Unlike human zombies, bee zombies (or, inevitably, “zombees”) do not have telltale tattered clothes or dark eye makeup. So in order to tell whether they’re dealing with bees or zombees, researchers are affixing the little guys with miniature radio trackers. Here’s how the zombee nonsense started: Last year, while San Francisco State scientist John Hafernik was looking for dead bugs to feed insects, he discovered some maggot-infested bee carcasses under a streetlight. (Picking up dead bugs that are …

Climate & Energy

Apple’s massive solar farm looks kind of awesome from the air

Apple is building a giant solar farm to power a data center in North Carolina, and GigaOM has aerial shots that show just how huge it is. The pictures were taken by North Carolina television station WCNC-TV. At 100 acres, this is going to be the world’s largest privately owned solar panel farm — you can see from the photo above that it dwarfs the 500,000 square foot data center, which is that white building in the upper middle.