• 14 SEP 11
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    Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping

    Posted to this blog by Anton Fernhout:

    Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping

    Published in Apidologie (2011) 42:270–279

    Daniel FAVRE 1,2
    1: Scientific collaborator in the Laboratory of Cellular Biotechnology (LBTC), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland.
    2: Apiary School of the City of Lausanne, Chemin du Bornalet 2, CH-1066, Épalinges, Switzerland

    Received 24 June 2009 – Revised 29 March 2010 – Accepted 8 April 2010

    Abstract – The worldwide maintenance of the honeybee has major ecological, economic, and political implications. In the present study, electromagnetic waves originating from mobile phones were tested for potential effects on honeybee behavior. Mobile phone handsets were placed in the close vicinity of honeybees. The sound made by the bees was recorded and analyzed. The audiograms and spectrograms revealed that active mobile phone handsets have a dramatic impact on the behavior of the bees, namely by inducing the worker piping signal. In natural conditions, worker piping either announces the swarming process of the bee colony or is a signal of a disturbed bee colony.

    1. INTRODUCTION
    Honeybees are essential partners for the success of agriculture. The economical role of honeybees in worldwide pollination has been valued to be around 153 billion euros in the year 2005 (Gallai et al. 2009). Bee losses have been recorded for more than a century (Hart 1893; Aikin 1897; Beuhne 1910; Wilson and Menapace 1979). Scientists suspect many factors to be responsible for the killing of the bees, of which the varroa mite, pesticides, viruses, farming practices, monoculture, hygiene in the hive, and climatic factors are the most widely cited possibilities. Starting in 2003–2004, bee colonies worldwide suddenly began to show symptoms of the so-called colony collapse disorder (CCD). CCD initially affects the worker bees, which desert the hive. The queen bee is usually abandoned in the hive with the young brood and with an abundance of honey, so that the colony can survive for a very short time. However, without the worker bee population, the colony becomes unsustain- able and dies out. Never before have honey- bees disappeared globally and at such a high rate.

    SNIP

    Link to the full paper: http://www.springerlink.com/content/bx23551862212177/fulltext.pdf

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