Is it your cell phone that’s killing bees?
A new study has suggested that cell phone radiation may be contributing to declines in bee populations in some areas of the world.
Bee populations dropped 17 percent in the UK last year, according to the British Bee Association, and nearly 30 percent in the United States says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Parasitic mites called varroa, agricultural pesticides and the effects of climate change have all been implicated in what has been dubbed “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). But researchers in India believe cell phones could also be to blame for some of the losses.
In a study at Panjab University in Chandigarh, northern India, researchers fitted cell phones to a hive and powered them up for two fifteen-minute periods each day. After three months, they found the bees stopped producing honey, egg production by the queen bee halved, and the size of the hive dramatically reduced…
But the UK’s Mobile Operators Association — which represents the UK’s five mobile network operators — told CNN: “Research scientists have already considered possible factors involved in CCD and have identified the areas for research into the causes of CCD which do not include exposure to radio waves.”
Norman Carreck, Scientific director of the International Bee research Association at the UK’s University of Sussex says it’s still not clear how much radio waves affect bees.
“We know they are sensitive to magnetic fields. What we don’t know is what use they actually make of them. And no one has yet demonstrated that honey bees use the earth’s magnetic field when navigating,” Carreck said.
An interesting question or two are raised by the study: If correct, would people stop using cellphones? Or would lobbying be next to change the frequencies to something less lethal? A question raised in the article.
Poisonally, I think it’s a lousy experiment. It’s like the studies done every decade or so “proving” that consuming an excess of water can “poison” you. An excess of anything can kill you. It’s all proportionate.
I set up camp one night after dark – after hiking the day along the beaches out at the easternmost tip of Long Island, New York.
I was dismayed the next morning to see I’d been sleeping directly in front of an enormous military radar antenna beaming out into the Atlantic defending American from invaders of one or another flavor. I was lucky I didn’t glow in the dark.