about the bees disappearing...

Patricia43(z8 AL)April 15, 2007

I found this in the Independent/UK, published 4/15/07

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 minis

Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".

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tsmith2579(7B)

If it is cell phones, we will see the end of honey bees forever. Everyone on the roads, at the mall, walking the aisles at every store has a cell phone stuck to his ear. You can't drive or walk without someone who is yelling into a cell phone blocking your way. Just our luck, killer bees are probably immune.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 9:02PM
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phillip_in_alabama(7b)

I just saw this story on Good Morning America. Scary, isn't it? I personally hate cell phones but I do have one in case of emergencies. I rarely use it though.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:11AM
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jeff_al

wonder what caused the disappearance of the "wild" colony in my woods? i don't have a cell phone and live at the end of a dead end street with woods on 3 sides. they were nesting in an old tree cavity for a few years but i have not seen them this year.
how close do these phones need to be to the hive to have a negative effect on them?
personally, i think i favor some of the other explanations over this one.

"Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby."
i might not go home either if they did that to me! *lol*

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Let's not forget that the cell phone issue is a THEORY! Many scientists don't believe that it's a primary factor in the bee problem.....yet.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:53AM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

well, i am wireless - it is much more convenient. That being said - i wish it would work that way on SKEETERS instead of bees! :) :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 1:38PM
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collinw(7b)

The decline in bee populations is primarily caused by mites. See link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Varroa mite

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 5:09PM
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bama35640(Z7A AL)

When I first moved tp Morgan County 12 years ago there were no bee's at all. The farmer down the road saw the plants I was putting in and said to let him know if I see any as they were wiped out by the mites. Now we have a bunch again. Even had one year that they swarmed on my humming bird feeder!

Bob

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 6:10PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

collinw, the mite problem (which has been occuring for many years) and CCD are two entirely different issues. No one really understands what is causing the death of entire colonies of (mite-free) bees in recent months.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:26AM
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collinw(7b)

There is no evidence that they are different issues at all. And yes, I guess it could be aliens from outer-space beaming the bees up....but it is much more likely that it is simply the most plausible answer; mites.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 1:43AM
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tsmith2579(7B)

Here is a good article that describes the problem. http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/04/22/vanishing.bees.reut/index.html Please note, the bees are disappearing, not dying in the hives.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 8:17AM
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jeff_al

...and more info at the link below.

i did not see mention of cell phones (i think that is journalistic sensationalism) and am inclined to go along with their most plausible theory (imho) that it may be chemical related, causing possible side-effects and leading to stress and immunosuppression within the bees' internal workings.
between this concern and the late killing freezes, the prices of fruits and vegetables will be patterned after the price of gasoline this year!

Here is a link that might be useful: ccd information

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 3:12PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Most scientists seem to think that what they are now calling CCD is actually a 'disorder' (because they don't know what else to call it) that has long been observed in the bee keeping community, both here and abroad. For generations, though in much smaller numbers, bees have been doing this same thing. Long before cell phones, by the way! (lol) The term CCD is a new one, just to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

As you can imagine, deceased bees are being evaluated like crazy all over the world! A lot of similarities have cropped up, but nothing (yet) points to any ONE causal agent. Mites are not the instigator of CCD, but can take away from the general well-being of the hive. Bees are also prone to a wide variety of other fungal and bacterial diseases. It could be an instance where the world's bees have just been bombarded by so much that their immune systems are compromised.

Some of the articles I've read seem to focus on a fungal strain, Nosema ceranae, as a contributing factor.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:16PM
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jeff_al

now they are offering that the bee deaths may be caused by a different microscopic mite from asia, not varroa.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to story

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 10:57AM
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