cell phones kill bees ?

Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, “man would have only four years of life left”.

image by flickr user "MOEVIEW is Aaron Molina"

today i was directed to an article in inhabitat, which explains that a new study out of switzerland has found that cell phone signals confuse bees and can cause them to suddenly die. it goes on to say that while we’ve known for years that the world bee population is dramatically declining, we didn’t really know why. until now. (well, actually see the note below)

image by flickr user mhall209

this actually shouldn’t be quite a new revelation (but it clearly could stand some further awareness and action!) when i googled “bees and cell phones” the first result is a 2007 (that’s 4 years ago mind you) article from The Independent which talks all about the theory that cell phone signals disrupt a bee’s navigation system.

while the (2007) Independent article says,

Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could provide a “hint” to a possible cause.

apparently this most recent swiss study is claiming the “hint” is much more of a “reality”
since the article explains,

Led by researcher Daniel Favre, the alarming study found that bees reacted significantly to cell phones that were placed near or in hives in call-making mode. The bees sensed the signals transmitted when the phones rang, and emitted heavy buzzing noise during the calls. The calls act as an instinctive warning to leave the hive, but the frequency confuses the bees, causing them to fly erratically, and then suddenly die! The study found that the bees’ buzzing noise increases ten times when a cell phone is ringing or making a call – aka when signals are being transmitted, but remained normal when not in use.

now, i don’t think most people put their cell phone inside bee hives, but science does seems to be trying to tell us something.

if cell phones really are the problem, and we (most probably) can’t stop people from using cell phones, and we really really need bees to keep pollinating our crops so we can continue to eat, what are we left to do??

note: thanks to one reader (see comments), according to the actual study (found here: http://www.kokopelli.asso.fr/documentation/favre.pdf) there is no mention of cell phone signals actually killing bees, nor does it claim that this is the reason for the declining bee population. it does say, however, that bees are sensitive to pulsed electromagnetic fields generated by cell phones, that they cause observational changes in bee behavior, and that this is reason enough to further study the issue.

p.s.

check out another bee related article on this blog: The Bee Crisis

which has a link to the trailer of the film Queen of the Sun which is also posted below:

the bee crisis

guest post, by carlah

While browsing the New York Times for more info on France’s dealings with GMOs I stumbled across this article from November. The subject is curious and presents a whimsical and goofy caper: Brooklyn bees and their honeycombs mysteriously turning red. It’s immediately evident in the article, however, that the implications of this occurrence are actually rather disheartening. The foraging worker bees who should have had amber “honey stomachs” were instead sporting a “garish bright red” and producing concoctions “reminiscent of cough syrup.” The culprit of this deviation from the natural status quo? Dell’s Maraschino Cherry Company.

One can read the incident as a quirkily accidental allusion to the underlying issues of the food industry today. The bees’ preference for the mass produced artificial sweet nectar is shocking: “Shouldn’t they know better? Or, perhaps, not know enough to know better?” Which inevitably begs the question: why is our own willfull consumption of and acceptance of the abundance of genetically engineered and chemically based food not equally disheartening?

Though this article is, by now, a few months out of date in the realm of current events I thought it was worth sharing and poignant seeing as how awareness of bee crisis is gaining momentum. On a cultural level, this can be largely attributed to the upcoming documentary due to drop this spring. I, personally, am a total follower and advocate of Michael Pollan and Vandana Shiva as preachers in the food movement church.

Check out “Queen of the Sun” on itunes: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/queenofthesun/ and remember, without the bees making pollination happen we’ll all be forced to eat Maraschino factory fruit.