Expanding cellular network detrimental to honey bees, hum researchers

Not-so-sweet findings

Honey bees are disappearing from their hives. The bees are not returning home and the queen is laying fewer and fewer eggs.

After a carefully-designed experiment, zoologists from Punjab University in Chandigarh have picked up cellphones as the main culprit behind the vanishing act.

The tolerance level of bees to electromagnetic radiation has gone down. The experiment was conducted on four honey bee colonies in the university apiary inside the campus. The colonies were subjected to cellphone exposure of 15 minutes, twice a day between 11 am and 3 pm, for three months starting February.

While two colonies were exposed to radiation, the other two were used as controls.

Storing ability

The scientists found that the honey storing ability declined due to loss of returning bees. At the end of the experiment, there were neither honey, nor pollen and bees left in the colony, resulting in its collapse.

The study suggests that the bee colony collapse does occur as a result of exposure to cellphone radiation, the scientists reported in the latest issue of the journal Current Science.

The Indian research is in line with previous studies which showed bees produce less honey and have a high mortality if they live near high tension electric lines. It was also observed that bee colonies exposed to strong electric fields produce less honey.
The culprit in both case was eletro-magnetic radiation. The scientists exposed the bees to cellphone radiations during two egg-laying cycles.

They found that the queen exposed to radiation lays fewer eggs per day (145) as against the queen in the control group (376).

As the total number of returning bees decreased, so did the number of pollen foragers returning to the hive. This led to a decrease in the area under pollen stores from 246.7 sq cm in the control hives to 154.7 sq cm in the exposed hives.

In the control group, the area under honey storage was 3,200 sq cm whereas in the exposed hives, the honey storage area is merely 400 sq cm. These are the warning bells and more research is required to understand why the bees behaved in such a way when exposed to radiation, the report said.


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