Could Cell Phones Be Killing the Honey Bee?
We need bees. Bees aren’t just responsible for keeping pretty flowers alive, they are essential for agriculture purposes and pollinating food crops as well. When the bees are in danger, people are in danger. And in case you didn’t know, these much needed insects have been on the decline for over a decade. We know they are affected by pesticides and illness. But cold weather, GMO crops, and cell phones/technologies are also being blamed.
While the cell phone theory isn’t accepted by all, Swiss researcher Daniel Favre has dedicated his research to connecting the dots between declining bee populations and increasing cell phone radiation.
Linking the Bee Decline to Cell Phones
Favre says that his research has exposed a link between the two—that honeybees exposed to cell phone radiation are likely to be confused and even to leave the hive, never to return again.
In his 2009 study, Favre placed cell phones in honey bee hives and observed what happened when the phones were active, inactive, powered down, or ringing. His findings: that bees weren’t bothered by inactive phones or those in standby mode. However, the bees exposed to ringing phones or ones that were active became confused and signaled each other to leave the hive.
The confusion and odd behavior didn’t stop when the phone stopped ringing—it continued for 12 hours after the phone went inactive again.
This, Favre says, indicates that bees are sensitive to the radiation that comes from phones.
Obviously, more research is needed to look at how phones, EMF, and radiation can affect hive behavior from a greater distance—not many people are placing calls in bee hives. Also worth examining is whether cell phone towers produce enough radiation to affect the hives. Because they are far larger and their exposure distance reaches further, they could potentially do more damage.
Favre believes towers can hamper the bees natural ability to navigate and find its way back to the hive.
“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,” says Favre, “with the worker bees failing to return home, leaving the hives with just queens, eggs, and hive-bound immature bees.”
Less controversial (though still debated by people with financial interests) is the link between pesticides and bee populations. A recent study showed that the bees are disappearing in large numbers due to a corn insecticide that is one of the most popular in the world.