25
Apr
2007

Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees

ISIS Press Release 25/04/07

The recent boom in third generation mobile phones may be the main culprit for colony collapse disorder in honeybees.

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Colony collapse a new phenomenon

Bees worldwide have been involved in a disappearing act called 'colony collapse disorder' over the past two years [1] (Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees, this series), with little sign of the disease or infestations that have resulted in massive loss of colonies in the past. The bees simply leave the hives and fail to return. Beekeepers and scientists alike are stymied as to the cause of this strange phenomenon.

One likely culprit is a new class of systemic pesticides, which are not only sprayed on crops, but also used universally to dress seeds in conventional agriculture, and can confuse and disorientate bees at very low concentrations [2] (Requiem for the Honeybee, this series). Another candidate is radiation from mobile phone base stations that has become nearly ubiquitous in Europe and North America where the bees are vanishing; this possibility is considerably strengthened by preliminary findings that bees fail to return to the hives if cordless phone base stations are placed in them.

Read the rest of this article here
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/MobilePhonesVanishingBees.php

--------

Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees

For some time now, honeybees have been disappearing from farmers’ hives without a trace. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins on the trail of possible culprits

Honeybees vanishing worldwide

The first alarm was sounded in autumn 2006. Honeybees are disappearing across the United States, with half of the States affected and beekeeper losing 30 to 90 percent of colonies; one beekeeper with 1 200 colonies expected 9 to survive the winter [1]. The problem began more than two years ago and has intensified in recent months [1-5]. The bees simply vanish relatively suddenly, with little or no dead adults in or near the colonies, leaving behind the queen and a few young. In cases where the colony appears to be actively collapsing the workforce seems to be made up of young adult bees, insufficient to feed the brood, but are reluctant to consume provided feed [5]. This “colony collapse disorder” (CCD) is particularly devastating for growers of fruits and vegetables, as they depend on insect pollinators.

Since then, CCD has been reported from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the UK [6], where one of the biggest beekeepers lost 23 of his 40 hives. But the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said that “there is absolutely no evidence” of CCD in the UK.

CCD has baffled scientists, because no one knows what causes it [5], and ongoing efforts are being made to identify possible pathogens in the bees and chemical residues in pollen, honey and bees. Viruses, fungal diseases, parasitic mites, pesticides, or chemical designed to control mites have considered by the authorities [7], as have GM crops [8-9], and mobile phones [10] (Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees, this series). So how good is the evidence for the different suspects?

Read the rest of this article here http://www.i-sis.org.uk/MysteryOfDisappearingHoneybees.php



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