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You are here: News & Events News from All Over News From All Over Bee Colonies Affected by Cell Phone Towers

Bee Colonies Affected by Cell Phone Towers

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Pune, September 5, 2009 (sources: PTI and AFP news reports in DNA, Times of India and others dated August 31, 2009; Kompetenzinitiative letter to Beekeepers and Beekeeper Associations dated March 16, 2008; article by Guy Cramer dated June 1, 2007 in hyperstealth webpage):

Radio, Microwave and TV transmission towers in Mt. Canobolas, Australia. Photo courtesy: MountainAsh, Creative Commons

An apiary by the roadside with phone lines, Pitt Meadows, BC, Canada. Photo courtesy: CGehlen, Creative Commons

News reports by AFP and PTI on August 31, 2009 inform that Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy, an environmentalist and reader in Zoology from Kerala found that the electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phone towers and cellphones might kill honey bees and thus posed a threat to bee populations in Kerala.

Dr. Pattazhy is reported to have conducted an experiment on the effect of the mobile towers and cellphones on bee colonies. When a cellphone was kept near a bee hive, bee foragers didn't return to the hive and the colony population dwindled within five to ten days. He therefore feels that an unabated growth of mobile communication systems could endanger the honey bee population in Kerala within ten years.

The news reports do not give any detail of the experiment and where it was conducted. However, elsewhere in the Western world it was widely reported during 2007 that honey bee navigation might be adversely affected by radiation from cellphones.

A blog item dated September 1, 2009 commenting on the PTI report informs that Jochen Kuhn of the Landau University, Germany in a study reported in the year 2003 on the effect of cellphones on honey bees' neurobiology observed that “GSM cell phone radiation in the frequency range 900 MHz - 1800 MHz caused the bees to avoid the hive. Kuhn speculates that the "waggle" dance that bees perform on the honeycomb to communicate with others could be influenced by the radiation. ... Kuhn suggests that the 200 - 300 cycles/second oscillations that dancing bees produce through honeycomb may be interrupted by a resonance effect caused by the telephone handsets.”

In a 'Statement' issued in April 2007, Dr. Ulrich Warnke of the University of Saarland mentioned clearly that man-made electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields disturb orientation and navigation of bees. He stated that this was the conclusion reached based on results of research done by him and other scientists. The research findings are: (a) the integuments of bees have semiconductor and piezoelectric functions. This means they are transducers of pulse modulated high frequency microwave-fields into an audio frequency range. Several constructions of the integument work like dielectric receptors of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave region. (b) Magnetite nanoparticles are found in the abdomen of bees. (c) Magnetite is an excellent absorber of microwave radiation at frequencies between 0.5 and 10.0 GHz through the process of ferromagnetic resonance. Pulsed microwave energy absorbed by this process is first transduced into acoustic vibrations (magneto acoustic effect). (d) Free-flying honeybees are able to detect static intensity fluctuations and ultra low frequency magnetic fields as weak as 26 nT against the background earth-strength magnetic field. (e) Magnetic field (MF) bursts at a frequency of 250 Hz oriented parallel to the field-lines of the earth magnetic field induce unequivocal jumps of misdirection of up to +10°. And, (f) the magnetic induction levels in the environment are in the extremely low frequency range usually between 0,001 and 170 μT; in the high frequency range between several nT and several μT. So these levels are commonly higher than the threshold of sensibility of bees to variations of magnetic fields.

In an interesting discussion dated June 1, 2007 on the connection between high-frequency active auroral research project's antennal array located in Alaska, USA (HAARP) and colony collapse disorder (CCD) reported in large parts of the USA, Canada and several European countries, Guy Crammer says that the timing of the HAARP array transition to full power prior to the summer of 2006 corresponded with the large-scale occurrence of CCD in the range of the transmissions from the array and thus the HAARP transmissions could be the most likely cause of the bee problem.

However, a news item dated September 16, 2008 by Geoffrey Lean in the Business Report informs that “the Mobile Operators Association, representing the UK's five mobile phone companies, says a US research group has found collapsing bee colonies in areas with no mobile phone service, and Denis Summers-Smith, a leading expert on sparrows, has described the link as "nonsense".”

In a letter dated March 16, 2008 addressed to beekeepers and beekeeper associations, the Competence Initiative for the Protection of Mankind, Environment and Democracy, an interdisciplinary association of scientists and physicians founded in May 2007, expressed concern at the disturbing phenomenon: “the involvement of government in industry and the high percentage of industry-financed research and industry-beholden panels and consultants, have spawned a questionable system of environment and consumer protection. Only that which does not seriously endanger common commercial interests is noted and supported.” In its argument requesting urgent attention to the man-made changes in the environment that affect biological systems including humans, birds and bees, the letter says that with reference to CCD, plausible arguments had been put forward explaining that Varroa attack also occurs as a result of previous damage to the bees' immune system due to electromagnetic fields. It refers to the work of Dr. Warnke which demonstrated this on a firm basis in his most recent publication: Bees, Birds and People, The Destruction of Nature as a result of ‘Electrosmog’.

Protecting bees from mobile phone radiation
A report in Eurotinnitus website from Germany five years ago records a simple means to protect bees from electromagnetic radiation. Paul Doyon has translated this report into English and this is presented by Sepp on April 22, 2007 here. According to this report, Siegfried Vogel from the Selbitz area of Hüttung, Germany witnessed the disappearance of all four of his bee hives during the winter. He believed the radiation emitted from the multitude of surrounding mobile phone masts was responsible for the loss of his bee colonies. Vogel offered as evidence of the mobile phone masts having caused the loss of his bee colonies, the fact that his son's colonies, which were placed behind an aluminum shielding, had survived. Aluminum is known to block microwave radiation. Since all their bee colonies were equally protected from cold weather with polystyrene insulation in the trailer, Siegfried Vogel concluded that the aluminium surrounding his sons bee hives must be shielding them from the radiation from mobile phone masts.

By simple experiments Vogel showed that one can protect oneself and one's bees with metal and magnetic shielding. "We cannot stand our ground against the monopoly of the mobile telecommunication industry, but in this way perhaps we can protect ourselves," added Siegfried Vogel.