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HomeOff Topics › Is the Cellphone Killing the Honeybee?
05-16-2011 04:45 AM  7 years agoPost 1


Texas, Houston area

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By Jeff Bertolucci, PCWorld May 13, 2011 3:16 PM

Pity the poor honeybee. Since 2003, bee colonies around the globe have declining at an alarming rate. And since bees play a vital role in agricultural production, that's bad news for us humans. Scientists suspect many factors may be responsible, including pesticides, viruses, the varroa mite, genetically modified crops, and even exceptionally cold winters. Now we can add cellphones to the list of possible culprits.

A study by Swiss researcher Daniel Favre shows that mobile phone-generated electromagnetic fields may contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a condition that causes worker bees to desert the hive. In most cases, the queen bee is left with eggs, immature bees, and a lot of honey. The colony survives for a short time, but soon dies out without its workers.

"Recent efforts have been made to study another potential cause responsible for bee losses: manmade electromagnetic fields," Favre writes. And while the results obtained to date have been "highly controversial," they suggest a connection between the growing use of cellphones and a declining bee population.

Earlier studies have shown that cordless telephones placed at the bottom of beehives altered the behavior of honeybees that returned to the hive after foraging. However, other reports have failed to find a connection between mobile phones and colony collapse.

'Honeycomb' could be hurting honeybees.The Latest Buzz

Favre's 2009 study exposed honeybees to active cellphone radiation. "The goal of these experiments was to identify potential effects of mobile phone communications on honeybee behavior," he writes.

The researcher recorded sounds produced by bees in five healthy hives in two Switzerland locations between February and June 2009. The study recorded the bees' sounds with active mobile phones in the hive. Two mobile handsets (900MHz GSM) were chosen at random.

The bees were also recorded during their normal activities, both with and without inactive mobile phones.

With the active devices, the first handset was triggered to call the second phone in the hive. A connection was made after 5 to 10 seconds of ringing.

Sound analyst shows the bees weren't disturbed by inactive or standby mobile phones. However, active cellphones confused the bees, creating "worker piping," or a signal to leave the hive.

The findings suggest that "the behavior of the bees remained perturbed for up to 12 hours after the end of the prolonged mobile phone communication," Favre writes. "This observation means that honeybees are sensitive to pulsed electromagnetic fields generated by the mobile telephones."

More Study Needed

In real life, of course, you won't find mobile phones in beehives. And further studies are needed--those that place cellphones at greater distances from the bees--to study the connection between odd honeybee behavior and mobile phone-generated electromagnetic fields.

Favre points to a recent experiment suggesting that cellphones and cellphone towers located near beehives hamper honeybee navigation.

"In one experiment, it was found that when a mobile phone was kept near a beehive it resulted in a collapse of the colony in 5 to 10 days, with the worker bees failing to return home, leaving the hives with just queens, eggs, and hive-bound immature bees," he writes.
Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at handle backwards is how I feel about current world affairs...

05-16-2011 08:22 AM  7 years agoPost 2

rrKey Veteran

San Francisco, CA

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To anyone who doesn't think this is a big deal, think again. The honeybee problem may decimate our food supply, as well as the food supply of animals we rely on for food (effectively collapsing the food chain).

05-16-2011 12:47 PM  7 years agoPost 3
Professor Fate

rrKey Veteran

Goose Creek S.C.

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Did Al Gore put you up to this?
And so does the sweet smell of nitro....Attracts the bee closer and closer to the spinning blades.....POW.

Welcome my son, Welcome to the machine

05-16-2011 01:52 PM  7 years agoPost 4
V-22 Osprey


Sidney, Maine

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Theres no question something has changed for the Honeybees. And yes it is a big problem! I'd be surprised if it cellphones, but you never know!

"220-221 whatever it takes"

05-16-2011 01:54 PM  7 years agoPost 5

rrElite Veteran

Claremont, MN

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Einstien warned about this. He predicted that increased signal interference would mess with bees and that we should be alarmed when the evidence appears.

05-16-2011 04:26 PM  7 years agoPost 6


Macon, GA

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Who's making all the tiny cell phones? I guess the bees all use "hands-free" devices because .............. they don't have any hands.

Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for Radio Control Helicoptering.

05-16-2011 06:37 PM  7 years agoPost 7


Alamogordo N.M.

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I have a beehive on my nightstand just so I will have a place to set my Cellphone.

When you fly JUNK it's hard to tell when you've crashed!

05-16-2011 08:57 PM  7 years agoPost 8


Garnet Valley, Pa.

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In every colony collapsed, they found the combined effects of a fungus and a virus, neither of which were deadly on their own.

05-17-2011 01:57 AM  7 years agoPost 9


Fuquay Varina

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Unfortunate that they didn't take the time to get a photo of a honeybee for the article... sheesh!

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05-19-2011 04:07 AM  7 years agoPost 10

rrKey Veteran

Atlanta, Ga.

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Einstien warned about this. He predicted that increased signal interference would mess with bees and that we should be alarmed when the evidence appears.
Sounds like an odd thing for Einstein to say being that he was a bit more well known for his work in Physics and not the study of bees. Also sounds like an odd thing for anybody of his time to say seeing as how any bee problems seem to be more recent.

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