Thursday, June 03, 2010

Scientists blame bee-colony collapse on cell phones

Eric just sent me this article:

According to the Telegraph, researchers at India's Panjab University say they have linked “colony collapse disorder” to cell-phone radiation. Their experiments involved placing mobile handsets on a beehive, powering the phone on for two 15-minute sessions each day over a period of three months. A control hive had dummy phones installed.

The results were astonishing. After the three months, the hive with the active phones saw the queen reducing the number of eggs she laid “significantly” — cutting the number laid by more than half — and the bees stopped producing honey. Worker bees regularly stopped returning to the hive as well.

What’s going on? The scientists behind the study call it environmental “electropollution,” suggesting that the magnetite in honeybees’ bodies is impacted by the electromagnetic fields that the gadgets create, causing bees to behave erratically or get lost.

On the other hand, these results are not necessarily the case everywhere. The British Beekeepers Association says that in London there are successful hives despite high mobile-phone use in the area. The group’s opinion is that a combination of factors, including disease and pesticides, are likely at play.

Nonetheless, the bees are dying out. In England, half of the country’s hives have disappeared in the last 20 years, though the rate of loss appears to be slowing.

— Christopher Null is a technology writer for Yahoo! News.

Article here.