Hinterland Green

Monday, August 31, 2009

Study in Kerala, India: Cellphone Towers Can Pose a Threat to Honey Bee Population

According to a study conducted by Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phone towers and cellphones can pose a threat to honey bees. The experiment found that a sudden drop in the bee population was caused by towers installed across the state by cellphone companies to increase their networks.

Dr. Pattazhy said the electromagnetic waves emitted by the towers crippled the "navigational skills" of the worker bees that go out to collect nectar from flowers to sustain bee colonies. He also found that when a cellphone was kept near a beehive, the worker bees were unable to return, abandoning the hives with only the queen and eggs, leading to a collapse of the colony within 10 days.

This latest development could adversely affect the more than 100,000 people in Kerala who are engaged in apiculture because the dwindling worker bee population poses a threat to their livelihood. Additionally, the bees also play an integral role in pollination to sustain vegetation. Pattazhy sounded the alarm by saying if  towers and mobile phones further increase, honey bees might be wiped out in 10 years. Though I am a little skeptical of the "gloom and doom" theory, I do believe that it is paramount that we ascertain what is really happening to the honey bees.

Photo credit:  Dark Honey Bee, Ron Hemberger
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