Our Cell Phones May Be Making the Bees Buzz Off

By Tracey E. Schelmetic May 16, 2011

Scientists worldwide have been puzzled by a two-continent die-off of bees, and up until now, no one has been able to figure out what's causing it. Some experts have suggested newer pesticides are the problem, while others have postulated that losses of wildflower habitats may be the culprit. Others blame a parasite.

Now a biologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne has put forth a new theory: it's our cell phones (as if we didn't have enough things to blame on our phones).

Dr. Daniel Favre believes that signals from mobile phones could be partly to blame for the mysterious deaths of the bees. To test the theory, researchers placed a mobile phone underneath a hive and then carefully monitored the reaction of the worker bees.

The bees were apparently able to sense when the handsets were making and receiving calls, and responded by making the high pitched squeaks that usually signal the start of swarming, reported the UK's Daily Mail.

Dr. Favre believes signals from mobile phones and masts could be contributing to the decline of honeybees and called for more research.

The number of honeybees in the UK has dropped by half in the last 25 years, while American bees are experiencing something called “colony collapse disorder,” or the sudden disappearance of entire colonies over winter.

Experts say bees have been badly hit by the varroa mite, a blood-sucking parasite that makes colonies vulnerable to disease, freak weather or poisoning, said the Daily Mail.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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