Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

  1. This is depressing. And sounds like a science fiction film.

    From the Independent online: http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/wildlife/article2449968.ece


    Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
    Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees
    By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross
    Published: 15 April 2007
    It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.

    They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.

    The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.

    Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.

    The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

    CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.

    Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: "There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK."

    The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world's crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".

    No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites, pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed, but all have drawbacks.

    German research has long shown that bees' behaviour changes near power lines.

    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.

    Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: "I am convinced the possibility is real."

    The case against handsets

    Evidence of dangers to people from mobile phones is increasing. But proof is still lacking, largely because many of the biggest perils, such as cancer, take decades to show up.

    Most research on cancer has so far proved inconclusive. But an official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset.

    Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today's teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives.

    Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility that men who use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm counts. And, more prosaically, doctors have identified the condition of "text thumb", a form of RSI from constant texting.

    Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official inquiries, warned that children under eight should not use mobiles and made a series of safety recommendations, largely ignored by ministers.
     
  2. Wow, this is so sad. I honestly believe that there's a payoff to everything we have technology-wise... some things just weren't meant to be in nature and can't exist without harming it. I hope we can find a solution to this problem. Thanks for sharing, Raspberry.
     
  3. Aww, that is so sad. I knew that there were stories of a lot of bees dying, but I didn't hear why. I agree with IntlSet and I hope someday that we cannot cause problems for nature and find a way to not harm them in the first place. Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. No problem, my first reaction reading this was "OMG" because the article really is eye-opening. Not something I ever really though about before.

    I'm terrible at making interesting or funny titles, though, otherwise maybe more people would have read this too!
     

  5. Terrifying. :shocked:

    I think it would be best to put a temporary ban on mobile phones, to see if things improve.

    Doesn't sound like we have time to prove it for sure and then do something, to me...
     
  6. OMG that's so awful!! I am personally terrified of bees but love their honey!!!!
     
  7. I read some of this today in the Mail. Horrible, scary world we're going to end up with. :sad:
     
  8. As someone who is mildly allergic to bees I think it's a good thing. ;)
     
  9. ^ Well, yes, I suppose you'd have up to 4 years allergy-free before you died! :lol:

    I'm highly allergic to tree pollen, so I, of course, applaud the destruction of the Brazilian Rain Forest! ;) :lol:
     
  10. oh my! this is really sad, we should do something before it's too late :crybaby: that's why i rarely use my phone, for emergency use only
     
  11. Does the phone give off radiation even when not in use?
     
  12. So they cannot find their way home? that is so sad!! :sad: and 4 years without them!! wow! I have always loved Bees, especially of the Bumble variety. hehe:yes: but seriously...Bees are dying, brain cells, TEXT THUMB! <- okay that one is kinda funny.

    I'd also like to know if there is radiation while phones are turned off.
     
  13. It's very distressing to think that cell phones could be helping the problem. I don't believe that they could possibly be the entire reason for it.

    There have been a few studies that show the genetically altered corn we use in crops is severely affecting the bee populations. It is also likely an issue with parasites.

    This has not only been affecting large farmers who make their livelihoods off of beekeeping, but farmers, too. The increase in costs to have bees come to their farms translates to the consumers, too.

    A lot of hobbyist bee keepers have had to quit, they simply can’t keep up with the loss of their colonies and can’t afford to continually replace when large populations of their bees disappear.
     
  14. Oh my goodness! I have long been bothered by claims that cell phones and microwaves, etc do no harm. My mother had cancer (it's all cleared for now) and her doctor said he was really beginning to question the usage of cell phones and microwaves.

    He said the population that grew up using microwaves has the highest rate of cancer and people in "undeveloped" countries RARELY get cancer. He, of course, said this isn't the only factor in cancer, but he said microwave and cell phone safety wasn't tested for as long as they should have been before they were approved. He said no one knows how these things affect people who use them for 20,30,40 years.

    He's an older doctor and I really like and trust him. He was saying that the drug companies have so much money and influence on medicine (and doctors) no one is really trying to find the causes, only the cures.

    Sigh. And I noticed we didn't have as many bees in our garden rosemary in the past two years. They LOVED that stuff.
     

  15. I don't think they do when they are switched off (although, I could be wrong? :shrugs: ).

    But they certainly do when they are switched on, but not actually in use (i.e. not during a call/text, but ready to receive/send one). :yes: