Your Cell Phone is Killing Bees

The article title may make you shrug your shoulders and not much care if a few bees are dying because you are using your cellular device more than ever. However, if you enjoy eating then you might want to pay attention. Swiss researcher Daniel Favre has concluded a study, and has noted that the worldwide bee population decline is directly related to our phone usage.

Remember that whole eating thing? Bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 70% of the crops grown here on Earth – which provide about 90% of the food we consume. That’s one heck of a lot of food, y’all. If bee populations decline enough, we could face very real food shortages. Back in 2008, a study showed that bees will not return to their hives if there is a cell phone placed nearby. This is only one hint that your handset is disrupting the bee’s orientation and lifestyle. According to Favre, the phone signals may confuse the bees so much that they not only become disoriented – they also drop dead. Favre and his team of researchers performed a total of 83 experiments which recorded the reaction of the bees to phones near them.

The phones in question were tested in three different modes: standby, off and call-making. The result is that honeybee noise increased more than ten times when a phone call was made or received. An increase in noise out of the little insects is used as a signal for bees to leave their hives usually. But in this case, it just confuses them. Favre noted that “The induction of honeybee worker piping by the electromagnetic fields of mobile phones might have dramatic consequences in terms of colony losses due to unexpected swarming.”

Your phone isn’t the only thing killing the bees, though. A pesticide made by Bayer and used to pre-treat corn seeds is also thought to be responsible as are several other factors. The UN believes that things such as air pollution, fungal pathogens and climate change are all playing a role in this population decrease.

Therefore, we can easily conclude that it’s quite possible we are killing off our food source simply by living life. We’re not going to throw away all of our phones or stop using pesticides so we need to figure out a new type of pollination solution – and fast.

10 thoughts on “Your Cell Phone is Killing Bees”

  1.  I clicked on this article expecting some sort of forward thinking piece on how we might need to consider the world around us a bit more. Perhaps with this new found knowledge we could engineer our phones as well as the rest of our technology to be less disruptive to the natural world around us and in turn ultimately less harmful to ourselves (although the direct health hazard cellular phones represent to us directly is still hotly debated).

    Instead the conclusion reached is that well….. we are just too damned lazy to do that. We should just live our lives and screw the bees. I mean if we can find a new way to pollinate flowers who gives a shit about bees anyway? Right?! Well good luck with that!! 

    Nature has spent billions of years evolving insects to give us the bee. They are incredibly sophisticated creatures with amazing social structures. Perhaps our thoughts should be more to there preservation for their sheer value to our biosphere as well as what we can learn from them. The fact that they are responsible for 90% of our food supply you think would garner them some more respect and well say the right to live. Even if we could find another way to pollinate plants without them shouldn’t we feel and be responsible enough to at least TRY to do something about their obliteration? If our only self interest is our own self preservation then perhaps we too are fit for extinction and seems will find our way there.

     The Chinese have been pollinating by hand in many places as much of their bee populations have been wiped out by pollution and other “unknown causes” and I think they would tell you there really isn’t another good way to pollinate besides bees. Certainly not one that allows for life as we currently know it or would like to imagine it. But even if a means could be found, I think the point is that we need to learn to respect our planet, the other organisms that share it with us, and ultimately the future we leave for our own children a bit more. Rather than just valuing bees for the job they do we need to go further and just value them for existing at all. Natures creatures on this planet don’t exist merely that WE can. 

    Maybe one day we will relearn what many “primitive” cultures before us already knew. We are all connected and dependent on each other here on this planet. We once thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. Perhaps one day we will learn that the human race is not the master of this world. Now THAT would be Progress!!!

  2. “Therefore, we can easily conclude that it’s quite possible we are killing off our food source simply by living life. We’re not going to throw away all of our phones or stop using pesticides so we need to figure out a new type of pollination solution – and fast.”

    Uhhh no, that would be killing our food source off by living life thoughtlessly and irresponsiblely. As the previous poster said a smart solution doesn’t require a bulldozer it requires becoming a better fit for the world we have been handed.

  3. Can we just use butterflies I dont like bees he he.
    But bees are important they give us lots of food including honney

  4. Hi Chris,
    A good heads up article, even if thin on the solution angle. This had to be brought up as our food supply, corporate profits, and perhaps personal freedoms are at stake, with an example of the latter being the Monsanto Frankenseed which allows a big corpo., who provides an artificial solution to an agricultural problem backed by strong corporate law, to punish the small farmer for Monstanto’s heavy-handedness.

  5.  Like Macgregor – I expected more from this article Chris, rather than the lame and rather flippant solution suggested. 

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