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Cell Phones And Bees

Is yapping on a cell phone going to lead to worldwide food shortages? Maybe so. Have you ever tried to self-pollinate something in your garden with a paintbrush? It’s not a fun job and I’m thankful for the bee’s nest that usually crops up near my garden each summer. But the food in the supermarkets comes from huge farms where self-pollination would be almost impossible.

The bee population is currently in some sort of crisis situation. The phenomenon is being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Worker bees are leaving their hives to go about their bee business but aren’t returning. Bee colonies are being completely abandoned, save for the queen, her eggs and little baby bees that aren’t ready to take care of the hive.

CCD was first noticed in the United States and then parts of Europe. The west coast alone is thought to have lost up to 60% of their bee population. No one really knows why this is happening. But now there’s some new evidence it’s being caused by cell phones. The cell phone signals are interfering with the bee’s ability to find their colony and return to it.

This new study is making it’s rounds in the media today. And I can take a guess what’s going to happen next. The big cell phone companies are going to commission their own studies to show that cell phone aren’t the cause and then we’ll have conflicting studies.

I’m not a scientist or a beekeeper so I have no idea if this is even possible. But as a gardener, it’s definitely not good news.


  1. P~ said...
    Things that make me go... Hmmm? Interesting article, thanks for the link!
    P.S. Glad to hear from you again, must be busy in the garden huh?
    Anthony said...
    Yes, very busy with a giant pile of mulch and my wheelbarrel. :)

    But I've been taking lots of pictures and have plans for tons of futures posts.
    Ottawa Gardener said...
    There have been some posts on bee problems on bifucated carrot too... all very worrying.

    That and the fungus hitting frogs.


    We must do more (or less)
    Ki said...
    Hey maybe that's why I see honeybees around our yard. We are so phone averse we rarely use our cell phone let alone the regular landline. I knew not yakking on the phone was virtuous some how but now I know. Thanks for the article.
    Anthony said...
    Ottawa, yes, we must do more AND less. Pretty tricky though. :(

    Ki, so are all the missing bees hiding out in your yard? :)
    Marc said...
    Wow, very interesting - I hadn't heard about this before. I thought the bee problem was due to a parasitic mite that are attacking them. Add the phone thing and it is a one two punch - yikes!

    Thanks for sharing this. We will have to keep monitoring this problem.
    domestika said...
    I'm not a scientist either, but I am a beekeeper - or I hope I am! Tomorrow the weather will finally be warm enough that I can check my one remaining hive (of 21 colonies, a couple years back) and see if there are any more than just a few stragglers living.

    marc is right that we beekeepers have had a rough time fighting the parasitic Varroa mite you've maybe heard about -- it keeps developing a resistance to everything that science has found to try to combat it -- but there's a whole lot more going on this past few years.

    Honeybees all over the world are struggling badly, and microwave/radio/wireless signals are just one possibility... we just don't know what's wrong.

    The sad fact is that bees are the proverbial "canary in a coal mine" - a warning that something is seriously wrong. Much like the songbirds and Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" that made us take a new look at some of the pesticides used a few decades back...

    Sorry to go on at such length -- stuffing the Compost Bin! -- but I have loved keeping bees these past 9 years and it would break my heart to lose their happy hum in the garden... not to mention the negative effect on orchard and garden of losing my very own home-based pollination squad!

    One out of every 3 mouthfuls of food we eat, we have the bees to thank.
    Anthony said...
    Domestika, what an insightful comment. Thanks for sharing your perspective as a beekeeper. I have a feeling that we're going to be hearing more news about this in the future.

    In the meantime you should be posting your opinion on this topic on your blog too. Definitely something that I would like to read about.
    Anthony said...
    Marc, are you a beekeeper too? How did you know about the mite problem. This is the first I've heard of it.
    Tom said...
    Check out the news from Hawaii.
    Anonymous said...
    What can I do? We really need to do something. Albert Einstein predicted that humans would only survive 4 years on this earth after bees disappear.
    Lesley said...
    Well how strange!

    We have noticed a huge increase in the number of bees in our garden this year in Wales, accentuated by the fact that many of them are finding their way through the house, only to land on the inside of the kitchen window.

    I have lost count of how many bees I have rescued with a glass and piece of paper, to release into the garden to continue their good work...perhaps some of them are the same bee, still lost?
    Aunt Bee said...
    Is mulch bad for bees? I've been putting a bark mulch around my garden and don't want to make it harder for those bees that live in the ground.
    I'm sick about what's happening to the bees.

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