There was recently a wav of press concerning the wide-scale disappearance of honey bees (known as colony collapse disorder or CCD) across the United States and Canada (check the AC Archives for the article). A serious decline in honey bees may not seem like a big deal to anyone who has been on the receiving end of a bee sting, but the reality is that such a large-scale decline can effect everything from the honey industry (obvious) to the pollination of plants and flowers (maybe not so obvious). The bottom line: scientists and researchers are having a difficult time explaining the rapid decline of the honeybee population in the United States and Canada.
An article posted on The Independent (www.theindependent.uk), recounts that scientists began looking through their files for past honeybee studies. Research presented some four years ago speculating the radiation emitted from cellular phones may contribute to the disappearing bee problem seems to be as valid as any other smoking gun theory that has been bandied about over the last 5 months.
According to a study conducted at Landau University in Germany in 2003, when cellular phones were placed near bee hives, the radiation generated by them (900-1,800 MHz) was enough to prevent bees from returning to their hive. In fact, the Landau study revealed that in some cases, as much as 70 per cent of bees exposed to radiation failed to find their way back to the hive after searching for pollen and nectar. Scientists believe the radiation produced by cellular phones may be enough to interfere with the way bees “communicate” with their hives.
According to an article posted on Science a go-go.com, Professor Jochen Kuhn — who conducted the study — speculates that the “waggle” dance that bees perform on the honeycomb to communicate with others could be influenced by the cell phone radiation.
Not all scientists agree that the dance is the primary means of communication between bees, but past studies have shown that it can fundamentally affect bee movement patterns. Kuhn suggests that the 200 – 300 cycles/second oscillations that dancing bees produce through honeycomb may be interrupted by a resonance effect caused by the telephone handsets.
According to an article in The Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk), in America, 24 states are affected and losses of 50 to 90 per cent of colonies have been recorded. To make matters worse, Colony Collapse Disorder recently spread to Poland, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal with some keepers in the United Kingdom reporting losses exceeding the 10 per cent of colonies that usually die during winter.
Cell phones have been blamed on everything from impotence to brain cancer, so it’s not that much of a stretch that cell phone radiation can impede honeybees from doing the job Mother Nature has laid out for them.
Further study is on-going.