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Cell Phone Signals Contribute to Decline in Bee Population

bumble bee on a thistle

Bees like this may be declining due to cell phone signals

According to new studies out of Switzerland, cell phone signals are having a serious impact on the bee population, causing confusion and even the death of bees. The decline in the bee population has negative implications for farmers who still rely on bees for crop pollination.

Daniel Favre is a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and along with his team, conducted 83 experiments recording the bees’ reaction to nearby cell phones. The reactions were tested while the cell phones were in off, standby or call mode, and the results showed that the bees were up to ten times noisier when a phone call was received or made to the phone close by.

This increase in the noise is called “worker piping”, and is usually a signal for the bees to leave their bee hives. However, when the cell phone causes the bees to increase their noise level, the bees become confused and disoriented before dying.

A 2008 study reported that when a cell phone is placed close to a hive, bees will not return to the hive.

Cell phones are not the only contributor to the declining bee population. Pesticides which are used to pre-treat seeds such as corn are also thought to be a cause of death, and reports from the UN suggest air pollution is also responsible for the problem.

It is not expected that the world can return to a pre-cell phone existence, and the bee deaths are of great concern because of the pollinating role they perform of crops grown for food. Of the 100 crops providing over 90 per cent of the food for the world. the bees pollinate over 70 of these. Without this, food crops will dwindle.


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Pat has a lifelong passion for home and garden, cultivating her own extensive lawns and gardens and providing interior decorating advice.

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