Is WiFi Wiping Out The Bees?
Update: I cross-posted this article to dKos and there has been a lively discussion going on over there.
This could be a more immediate threat than either terrorism, global warming, or nuclear annihilation.
It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world’s harvests fail.
They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world – the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon – which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe – was beginning to hit Britain as well.
Albert Einstein speculated that if the honey bees were to disappear, human beings would be gone very shortly thereafter. A few weeks ago Steve posted here about this threat, and Steve was right, we are interfering with the primal forces of nature, and if we don’t stop doing it we will atone (a prize for anyone who can guess the reference). At first there were speculations about climate change, or pesticide use, or chemtrails, but now we may have learned more about what is causing Colony Collapse Disorder, or the collapse of a beehive’s population due to the inability of the bees to find their way home.
The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees’ navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive’s inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die 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.
This is just absolutely heartbreaking, as well as being scary as hell. And reports of this phenomenon have begun to be reported worldwide.
The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.
CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London’s biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
I don’t know about you, but I lived until I was well into my 40′s before I acquired a moblie phone. I would gladly give up my cell phone and my GPS and my WiFi if it meant that the bees could find their way home again and I could read “Winnie-The-Pooh” to my grandchildren and have tea and toast with honey when I was sick.