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Are cell phones killing off bees?

Researchers in India suggest that cell phone radiation is causing the decline in the bee population and collapse of hives.

When it comes to destruction, humans rarely need help. You just have to look at the pleasure 4-year-old boys enjoy while tearing some toy, worm, or silence to shreds to know that the human species, especially the male kind, loves to annihilate.

However, researchers in India believe that cell phones are assisting in the gradual annihilation of something that so many find especially endearing: the honeybee.

According to the Telegraph, researchers at the Punjab University in Chandigarh decided to investigate whether the arrival of the cell phone might have had something to do with the departure of the honey maker.

Are they being interfered with by your cell phones? CC Ryan Wick/Flickr

Many countries are seeing significant declines in their bee populations. Naturally, climate change, pesticides, and viruses are just three of the commonly proposed possible culprits. However, the Indian researchers thought there might be something else involved, so they decided to perform a controlled experiment. They placed a couple of cell phones around a hive, with a couple of fake ones around another hive; a third hive had no cell phones at all.

The real phones were GSM 900MHz and "the exposure given was 15 minutes twice a day during peak bee activity."

To their controlled surprise, three months of observation led them to conclude that the hive with the real cell phones experienced a significant reduction in its population. The queen bee laid fewer than half the number of eggs that the one in the fake cell phone hive did, and neither honey nor pollen was anywhere to be found.

In their report, the researchers, Ved Parkash Sharma and Neelima Kumar, explained that they decided to perform the experiment because there was increasing evidence that electromagnetic fields are responsible for the decline in bee populations. They also noted that similar results have been obtained by those who studied bee populations "under the influence of high-tension lines."

They suggest that all of our chattering radiation may well be messing with the bees' ability to navigate their way back home.

One can only hope that the researchers can reach some definitive conclusions soon, so that they can conduct a new experiment--one that examines whether there is any significant difference in the radiation emitted by various cell phone carriers.

Could it be, for instance, that more bees survive where AT&T, which allegedly drops more calls, is the primary network, than in areas fully served by Verizon?