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Author Topic: Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?  (Read 8468 times)

Juliette de Combes

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« on: 20/01/2011 12:30:03 »
Juliette de Combes asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Chris

I am fascinated by your knowledge, and by the ease at which you recount such valuable knowledge.

Perhaps you could shed some light on an issue that has been bothering me.

Bees - are they affected by cell phone and internet frequencies?

We have many bumble bees, and bees around our garden at our shop but in the past year we have come across at least 8 dead ones - mainly bumble bees.

I am frightened that they will be wiped out due to our selfishness our need to always be in touch to always have access to information

Would it help if we changed the frequency of our phones and internet and, if so, how could it be done.

I look forward to hearing from you

Love Juliette

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 20/01/2011 12:30:03 by _system »


 

Offline Don_1

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #1 on: 20/01/2011 14:25:44 »
It has been suggested that mobile phone microwaves could be a suspect in CCD (Colony Colapse Disorder) in the European Honey Bee. These are the favoured bee for the pollination of crops around the world. CCD has left many bee keepers in turmoil. The USA has even imported European Honey Bees from Australia, where CCD is far less prevalent.

The idea that mobile phones might be the cause of CCD stems from a small test carried out in Germany by Stefan Kimmel. Using a cordless phone he tested for any reaction to the signal between the base station and handset. None was found, but the fact that a study had been made seems to have got people talking and reading in to the test their own assumptions. Kimmel wrote that there is "no link between our tiny little study and the CCD-phenomenon ... anything else said or written is a lie."

Jeff Pettis, a researcher from the US Dept of Agriculture also dismisses the idea. As he pointed out, when on location to investigate a case of CCD, he was unable to use his mobile phone because the area was so remote, that there was no signal.

CCD is specific to honey bees, but bumblebees can be affected by the same other problems as the honey bee. I would suggest it is more likely that the dead bees you are finding are victims of pesticides. These could be residual on the fruit you are selling or the bees may have been in contact with pesticides used in nearby gardens or fields. Perhaps someone moved into your vicinity recently, who uses contact pesticides while bees are still flying. Most pesticides are designed to be harmless to bees, but often it is the case that they can affect bees before the liquid has dried. These pesticides will carry a warning not to use while bees are flying.
« Last Edit: 20/01/2011 14:28:53 by Don_1 »
 

Offline woodinvilledave

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #2 on: 28/01/2011 19:41:13 »
the response is "spot on."  We do need to be aware of what we're doing to our native pollinators.  More importantly though, we need to each become more proactive with bees.
1) please stop using pesticides.  IF YOU MUST use pesticides, do it specifically and minimally.  In general, learn about organic garden raising that provides healthier plants and less pests.
2) try raising mason bees.  They are an easy insect to raise, they're extremely non-aggressive, and are more a "beekeeping 101" insect.  Our website newbielink:http://www.crownbees.com [nonactive] teaches you how to do this (at least in north America).
3) encourage your neighbors as well.  In 5-7 years, we'll need your excess mason bees in nearby orchards.  If you don't start now, we'll have bigger issues later.

Thanks,
Dave
 

Offline CliffordK

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #3 on: 28/01/2011 22:04:53 »
What I was reading about Colony Collapse Disorder is that it seems to be independent of cell phone coverage, and occurs in rural areas with limited or no cell phone service (not that there wouldn't still be a few cell phone handsets, but no big towers broadcasting). 

They don't seem to be finding dead and dying bees in and around the hives.  Thus, less likelihood that they bees are getting sick from things like pesticides unless they are killing the bees in place.  It is more like they are just getting disoriented and lost (which is probably the root of the cell phone idea). 

I would think there would be big issues with things like mono-crops and shipping the bees from one place to another.  They talk about multiple parasites and viruses infecting the bee colonies.  And, there apparently is some overlap with whatever is killing the honey bees, as well as a decrease in bumble bees and other species.

Without transportation, the spread of viruses, or perhaps Killer Bee Genes is slow.  Mix the populations up, and one gets much quicker dissemination of the viruses, as well as the potential to infect local species.

Like the previous poster mentioned, I did see some notes about native species of honey bees.  Often "odd colors", and very small.  Not good honey producers, but good pollinators.  I thought they were flies, but I noticed some  odd bugs on my sunflowers last year.  I will have to look at the bugs around my flowers next year a little more closely.

I've been thinking about trying to set up a hive.

But, maybe it is best just to leave them alone.  Perhaps they would naturally step in if the competition is reduced.  European bees, after all, might be considered an "invasive species" in the USA.

Farming is easiest if everything flowers at the same time, and produces at the same time.  However, it would be much easier on the native pollinators to extend the pollination season which means more crop variety, and fewer clonal crops.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #4 on: 28/01/2011 22:37:43 »
You know,

One other thing about Colony Collapse Disorder is that there is an apparent dislike for the hive, which may be related to why the bees seem to leave and not come back.

But, apparently it is common for dead hives to be raided by neighboring hives.  This isn't happening with CCD.

So, either they are recognising the disease state of the hive, or they are sensing a smell or something that is keeping both the original bees and the new bees away.

Or, the disease process is so virulent that an invading bee can't make it back to the original hive.  But, it should be easy enough to force neighboring hives into a CCD hive, and observe what happens.

In another chain, there was a discussion of an "artificial nose".  Perhaps that would help one get an idea of what is happening.
 

Offline yor_on

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #5 on: 04/02/2011 14:19:06 »
Well it's a experiment still.

Look here.  India is a vast agricultural country and takes those studies very seriously. Then again, I've seen other naming it 'viruses' of some kind?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #6 on: 05/02/2011 15:38:33 »
Well it's a experiment still.

Look here.  India is a vast agricultural country and takes those studies very seriously. Then again, I've seen other naming it 'viruses' of some kind?
Great study.
I believe this is the full download link.
http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/25may2010/1376.pdf

Wow, in India even the honey bees get their own cell phones!!!!!!!!!!

The declines are extraordinary, but the measurements were done with a cell phone physically attached to the hive.

In the conclusion they write:
Quote
Reports of such a colony collapse in nature in develop-
ing countries like India where electromagnetic radiation
(EMR) based technologies are comparatively new are
absent. It is possible that the electrosmog that prevails in
the advanced countries of the world has not yet affected
these countries.
I think they may be underestimating India.

Reports are that there are 90,000,000 cell phone subscribers in India.
http://www.nationmaster.com/country/in-india/med-media

Ok, so they aren't real high on the list with 82,223 per 1 million people
The USA has 680,307 per 1 million people, and about 201,650,000 phones.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/med_mob_pho_sub_percap-mobile-phone-subscribers-per-capita

But, India has about 1/3 the area of the USA.  So, per square KM, the number of mobile phones in India is similar to that of the USA.
 

Offline yor_on

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #7 on: 06/02/2011 05:48:37 »
Clifford, I found it a quite simple experiment, rather smart too?

Here is another report from Germany by Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Warnke, an internationally renowned bioscientist at Saarland University. There might be something to it, although I've seen other explanations too.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
« Reply #8 on: 06/02/2011 12:28:44 »
The India study attached the mobile phones to the bee hives.

It identified a possible reaction.  However, EM Radiation dose is likely higher than the bees would ordinarily encounter. 
Most drugs have ratings such as LD50.  A drug that might be perfectly safe at a low dose can be very dangerous at a high dose.

However...  it does identify potential concerns.

The review article is better.. as it discusses studies putting bee hives in ordinary environments that happen to have a cell tower, although the cell tower certainly puts out a lot of power.

So...
Will the bees eventually adapt.
Or, should we start research projects for bee-friendly communications technologies?

For example, perhaps one should have more micro-transmitters.  I.E.  A cell phone that could pick up low power WIFI signals, including personal home WIFI, assuming that isn't also harming the bees. 

Lead foil on the bee hives?
 

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Do mobile phone frequencies affect bees?
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