Cell Phones and Bees

In a recent edition of his show “Real Time with Bill Maher”, the usually snide and wise-cracking political comedian addressed the recent disappearence of bees as a very serious issue. His opening line was “Albert Einstein said that if bees disappeared from the face of the earth, mankind would have only 4 years to live.” Einstein may not have been a beekeeper, but here is what that remark was based on – most of the world’s crops are dependent on bees for pollination. As bees visit from plant to plant, they carry pollen which fertilizes the plants. There is currently no artificial way to accomplish pollination.

This means no bees, no plants. Imagine the impact up and down the food chain of the absence of plant food.

According to the U.K. Independent, “Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive’s inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.”

It was also reported that “The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London’s biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.

Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: “There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK.””

Why are the bees disappearing? One theory is that signals from cell phones interfere with bee’s navigation systems.

One study at Landau University in Germany has even shown that bees refuse to return to a hive when cell phones are near.

Would you be willing to give up your cell phone if your life was at stake? I would, in a heartbeat.

Read more about this here: Are Mobile Phones Wiping Out Our Bees? and Cell Phones Linked to Bee Decline

photo credit Zach’s Bee Photos

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Cell Phones and Bees

  1. John Blatchford

    I have just written a few articles about various aspects of the Honeybee crisis which you might find of interest – for example: http://insects.suite101.com/article.cfm/bee_crisis

  2. glorious

    I’m going to read that article. There was a story about this a few months ago and a local bee keeper said it is rubbish. Well, we’ll see I guess. I’d give up my cel phone but I bet there are many who are short sighted and would not.

  3. We’ve had population collapses in the Great Lakes over the years with devastating consequences for the fishery. The shad piled up on the beaches for years, leading to a collapse in predator species such as King Salmon. Sounds similar to your story about bee populations. I’d ditch the cell phone, or at least write a letter to the company to use a different frequency. whew, at least our exhaled breathe is good for plants…

  4. Interesting isn’t it? For now, we have to wait and see and trust that great minds will come up with solutions to this problem.

  5. I saw this episode too. It had me feeling grateful that you saved your bees from their death sentence. It has me looking at them in a whole different way~still don’t want them near my son, but at least I am less likely to kill one now! I have hated them since I was 7, when a day on the lake with my dad was ruined when I got stung on the belly-button on our way there. I seldom got one-on-one time with dad, so it was especially bad. They have been my nemesis ever since!

  6. seb

    I would be willing to give up my phone too. This is scary, bees are so important, and they are such fascinating creatures, their social structure and organization, I mean, that is mind-blowing… I hope we can figure out the problem and curb this problem, it really frightens me…

  7. So glad to see more people drawing attention to this and to see some people willing to consider the possibility of giving up their mobiles as well.

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