More evidence that colony collapse could be caused by mobile phone radiation
A report in the New Delhi Pioneer confirms work done in the US relating colony collapse in bees to confusion caused in bees navigational abilities by radiation from mobile phone towers.
Studies in Kerala have brought out evidence to support the theory of colony collapse disorder (CCD) among honeybees due to bioactive microwave radiation from mobile phones and their relay towers, which leads to extensive disappearance of entire worker bee colonies. This could result in disruption in food production because most of the crops depend on bees for pollination.
Although the theory of mobile towers leading to CCD is yet to be proved anywhere in the world, experts say this is highly possible and the phenomenon could cause unimaginable food troubles to most Indian States, especially Kerala which is already food-scarce. The State has the highest density of mobile towers.
The phenomenon of (suspected) mobile tower-induced CCD and resultant crop loss were first noticed in the US several years ago, but this had spread to most European countries by 2007. Now, experiments by Sainuddeen Pattazhy, a researcher and dean in the department of zoology at SN College, Punalur, Kerala, have found that worker bees fail to return to their hives when their navigation skills are interfered by the mobile microwaves.
Sainuddeen had conducted his experiments by placing mobile phones near beehives (as some scientists in the West had done earlier). He found that these hives collapsed totally in five to 10 days with the worker bees failing to return to their homes, leaving the hives with the queens, eggs and immature bees. The vanished bees were never found, but the assumption was that they died singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.
“The navigation skill of the worker bees is dependent on the earth’s magnetic properties. The electro-magnetic waves emitted by the mobile phones and relay towers interfere with the earth’s magnetism, resulting in the loss of the navigation capacity of the bee. Then it fails to come back. Also, the radiation causes damage to the nervous system of the bee and it becomes unable to fly,” said Sainuddeen.
The researcher had earlier led a study on the impact of mobile phones and towers on ecology, in which other environmentalists had participated. The study revealed that bioactive radiations from mobile towers threatened the very existence of home sparrow, which lived in colonies close to human habitats, even in crowded cities.
Pattazhy, however, is not the first scientist to notice the phenomenon of CCD occurring in bees due to mobile phone-tower proximity. A limited study at Landau University in 2007, headed by Dr Jochen Kuhn, had found that bees refused to return to their hives when mobile phones were placed nearby. As back as in late 1990s, a researcher, George Carlo, had headed a massive study sponsored by the US Government and the mobile phone industry in America, had said, “I am convinced that the possibility is real.”
Apiarists in Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts confirm that they have been noticing the massive play of CCD for the past four or five years, but they have never thought of the relation between mobile tower-induced radiations and their bees.
A beekeeper in Thodupuzha, Idukki said he had lost 13 of his 17 hives in the past three years. Three years ago, three mobile towers were erected on the hillock near his farm.
“But I have never thought of the relation. I, like other farmers, was thinking that climatic changes and pesticides used in the rubber plantations were the reason,” he said.
Scientists warn that Kerala, which already has a large number of mobiles and towers, could face not just CCD-created hive losses but even a crop disaster if the mobile craze continues to grow.
“Honeybees can be wiped out in Kerala and many other Indian States and cities if there is no system to control the unscientific increase in the use of mobile phones. It can in turn lead to a disaster in the food front as bees are responsible for pollination in most of the food crops,” said a biotechnologist at a Coimbatore college.
First Published in September 2009