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Mobile phones responsible for collapse of honeybee populations?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: mobile phones, honeybees, health news

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(NaturalNews) In spite of industry claims to the contrary, cell phone towers may indeed be contributing to the collapse of honeybee populations, according to the findings of a study conducted by researchers from Punjab University in India and published in the journal Current Science.

"Increase in the usage of electronic gadgets has led to electropollution of the environment. Honeybee behavior and biology has been affected by electrosmog since these insects have magnetite in their bodies which helps them in navigation," the researchers wrote.

Honeybees play a major role in pollinating some of the world's most important food crops. Populations have been steadily falling across North America, Europe and some other parts of the world, raising alarm for reasons of both ecological health and food security.

Numerous studies have aimed to uncover the reasons for the decline, and most scientists are now blaming a combination of pesticides, disease and habitat loss. In the new study, researchers sought to determine whether cell phone radiation might play a role by attaching two mobile phones to one beehive and attaching two dummy phones to a control hive. The active phones were then powered on for two 15-minute sessions each day for three months.

"There are reports of sudden disappearance of bee populations from honeybee colonies," they wrote. "The reason is still not clear. We have compared the performance of honeybees in cell phone radiation exposed and unexposed colonies."

At the end of the study period, the number of eggs laid by the queen had dropped significantly in the cell phone-fitted hive, and production of honey had ceased. The overall population of bees also decreased, as did the number of workers returning from foraging trips. The absence of workers in turn led to an overall drop in nectar production.

"The behavior of exposed foragers was negatively influenced by the exposure; there was neither honey nor pollen in the colony at the end of the experiment," the researchers wrote.

Sources for this story include: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/77....
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