A cause of the mass death of bees?
Bee workers sound distress signals
The sounds of bees in beehives were registered before and during exposure to mobile phone radiation. Drastic changes occurred in the latter case. Worker bees started “piping”, a sound that they generate to signal a disturbance in the bee colony.
Navigation impaired – leading to collapse of colonies
In 2007 a study reported that DECT phone microwaves interferred with the navigation skills of the bees and this lead to the death to bee colonies. The research was done by physicist Jochen Kuhnat Koblenz-Landau university, Germany.
Source: “Mobile phones and dying bees”
However this research has been critisized for usin very strong radiation – DECT stations placed inside hives, so this would not prove that more normal radiation is harmful.
A more recent study does indeed indicate that also more modest radiation distubs the navigation of bees. It was done by Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy, an environmentalist and reader [an academic title for a professors- competent scientist not holding a professorate] in Zoology from Kerala.
The study reported that when a cellphone was kept near a bee hive, bee foragers didn’t return to the hive and the colony population dwindled within five to ten days.
Source: Beekeeping times
How bee navigation is disturbed
In a ‘Statement’ issued in April 2007, Dr. Ulrich Warnke of the University of Saarland mentioned clearly that man-made electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields disturb orientation and navigation of bees. He stated that this was the conclusion reached based on results of research done by him and other scientists. The research findings are:
(a) the integuments of bees have semiconductor and piezoelectric functions. This means they are transducers of pulse modulated high frequency microwave-fields into an audio frequency range. Several constructions of the integument work like dielectric receptors of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave region.
(b) Magnetite nanoparticlesare found in the abdomen of bees.
(c) Magnetite is an excellent absorber of microwave radiation at frequencies between 0.5 and 10.0 GHz through the process of ferromagnetic resonance. Pulsed microwave energy absorbed by this process is first transduced into acoustic vibrations (magneto acoustic effect).
(d) Free-flying honeybees are able to detect static intensity fluctuations and ultra low frequency magnetic fields as weak as 26 nT against the background earth-strength magnetic field.
(e) Magnetic field (MF) bursts at a frequency of 250 Hz oriented parallel to the field-lines of the earth magnetic field induce unequivocal jumps of misdirection of up to +10°. And,
(f) the magnetic induction levels in the environment are in the extremely low frequency range usually between 0,001 and 170 μT; in the high frequency range between several nT and several μT. So these levels are commonly higher than the threshold of sensibility of bees to variations of magnetic fields.
On balance the consequence of all this investigations is that orientation and navigation of bees may be disturbed by man-made technical communication fields.
Universität des Saarlandes
Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Warnke
FB 8.3 Biowissenschaften
Geb B6 8, Bot. Garten
Source: Statement by Dr. Ulrich Warnke on bee nagivation.
There exists observations that bees are affected by cellphone radiation. A disturbance of their navigation ability can be theoretically explained. So there are reasons to suspect that mobile phone radiation may contribute to the mass death of bees in the US and Europe.
However the use of a certain pesticides, the neonicotinoids, have also been implicated, and these are now banned in 27 European countries. Scientists believe that the mass death of bees may be the result of a combined effect of various concurring envirionmental factors including mobile phone radiation, pesticide damage and parasite diseases (varrola).
The loss of bee pollination may have serious consequences for agriculture resulting in an important decrease of productivity and consequent food scarcity.