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Check that tongue! Mobile phones buzz out honeybees

Posted by seumasach on August 25, 2009

DNA India

21st August, 2009

Sweet nothings murmured into a mobile phone spell doom for honeybees, says a study. The booming communication industry is not helping one sector – apiculture – at least. Honey and bee wax are not the only things at stake, though. One-third of our crops need bees to pollinate.

“There is a 60% plunge in Kerala’s commercial bee population. Bees are susceptible to diseases and attacks by ants, wasps and wax moths, but vigilant keepers can check these,” Sainudeen Pattazhy, reader in zoology, SN College, Punalur, said. His study warns that bees would be wiped out in a decade if mobile phone towers continue to proliferate at the current rate.

Pattazhy’s experiments show that workers, who constitute around 90% of bees in a hive, abandon it when a mobile device is placed near it. “I placed a mobile device 10 metres off a hive for 5-10 days, after which worker bees never returned. The massive radiation from mobile phones and towers is frying navigational skills of bees,” he said.

Thriving hives were suddenly left with only the queen, drones and larvae. The environmentalist believes atmospheric electromagnetic radiation is responsible for this colony collapse disorder, characterised by mass disappearance of workers who buzz about collecting honey and pollinating flowers.

In the US west coast, this apian disorder is such an ecological disaster that colonies of bees are hired to pollinate almond plantations. Apiarists’ blame theories vary from viruses and bacteria to pesticides and radiation.

“Bees and other insects have evolved complex immunity systems over millions of years. Now, why would they suddenly die out due to diseases and parasites? Of course, we are introducing a new factor to their environment, which is disrupting their immune system,” Pattazhy said.

“Insects and small animals would naturally be the first to be affected by an increase in ambient radiation. Behavioural patterns of bees alter when they are in close proximity to mobile phone towers. The vanished bees were never found, thought to have died,” he said.

A radiation of 900 MHz is highly bioactive, causing significant alternation in living organisms. There are close to 1.25 apiarists in Kerala. A single hive can yield up to 5 kg of honey. Pattazhy advises beekeepers to shield their hives with aluminium, which blocks radiation to an extent.

2 Responses to “Check that tongue! Mobile phones buzz out honeybees”

  1. gary said

    How many Watts of power is received at the hive in those hives effected? Micro-Watts, Milli-Watts, Kilo-Watts?

  2. smeddum said

    The power generated by our internal
    electromagnetic oscillations, that we
    describe as heat (wavelengths
    around 3 – 10 µm), corresponds
    approximately to that of a 100 Watt

    To understand the natural oscillation
    of our functional molecules (enzymes
    and other proteins, nucleic acids,
    hormones and many more) it is
    important to realise that what we
    generally describe as “chemistry” is
    actually pure physics. All the bonds
    and their modulations (changes)
    between atoms on the one hand and
    molecules on the other are based on
    physical phenomena. In this context,
    the electrostatic Coulomb forces (=
    force between different electrical
    charges) and the electromagnetic force
    (e.g. van der Waal force = force
    between dipoles with different
    moments and fast oscillations) are
    prominent. DNA and all the enzymes,
    for instance, can only carry out their
    Biological systems are obviously very
    sensitive in their reaction to
    microwave fields. For instance,
    Belyaev et al, 1996, reported
    resonance effects on the DNA
    structure at extremely low power
    densities of 0.000001 µW/m2 in the
    40 – 50 GHz frequency range. This
    surprising result must still be confirmed
    by other working groups.
    Nevertheless, it must be stated that:
    The ultra-weak, but biologically very
    effective natural electromagnetic
    fields are contrasting strangely with
    the technical radiation fields permitted
    in Germany. On recommendation by
    the ICNIRP association (Munich),
    technical radiation fields up to power
    densities of 10 000 000 µW/m2 were
    legalised – still considered as
    harmless by the experts. The
    population, animals and plants may
    therefore be legally subjected to
    radiation in the critical frequency
    spectrum that is more than 10 orders
    of magnitude higher than the natural

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