Bees vs. Cell Phones



  • I heard some stuff about how bee populations have been declining ever since... Ever since they started counting bees.

    And now, to make things worse, it seems like man made electromagnetic radiation gets them crazy. I would find it hard to believe, were it not for the author of a paper coming up with a reproducible experiment.

    Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping

    I'm willing to look for a bee hive and leave a cell phone there, to see if it's true. Any thoughts?



  • That study was done using cell phones in close proximity to the bees.  Electromagnetic energy drops off with an inverse square of distance.  I seriously doubt very weak mobile signals could explain the massive effects of colony collapse disorder.  However, according to Wikipedia, there are some who believe RF radiation could be a cause.   Maybe we should surround all beehives with tinfoil just in case.



  • @frits said:

    That study was done using cell phones in close proximity to the bees.  Electromagnetic energy drops off with an inverse square of distance.  I seriously doubt very weak mobile signals could explain the massive effects of colony collapse disorder.  However, according to Wikipedia, there are some who believe RF radiation could be a cause.   Maybe we should surround all beehives with tinfoil just in case.

    I remember speaking to a bee-keeper a while back who basically said the whole thing's a load of nonsense - what bee colonies do, long-term, is die off. Of course, they have founded (usually multiple) new colonies before that happens, so the species is fine. Based on what he said, there's no reason to be surprised that colonies are dying.

    I just took a glance at the Wikipedia page, and it seems to back up what he said - the baseline average is 20% colony loss per year - that is, 20% of colonies are totally lost, not 20% of each colony. Sometimes it's lower, sometimes a fair bit higher, but it all seems to be ordinary natural variation.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @intertravel said:

    I remember speaking to a bee-keeper a while back who basically said the whole thing's a load of nonsense - what bee colonies do, long-term, is die off.
    This. As a country boy, I can tell you that colony collapse disorder is a complete farce perpetuated by people who don't know beekeeping taking up beekeeping. If you aren't splitting your hives more than about 30% each year (that is, 30% of your hives spawn a new hive in a new enclosure), you aren't trying hard enough. There's more to it than just 'let bees sit' and 'collect product'

     

    It is spectacularly coincidental that the rise of this stupid management was timed almost perfectly with the rise of the cellular phone, though.



  • @intertravel said:

    @frits said:

    That study was done using cell phones in close proximity to the bees.  Electromagnetic energy drops off with an inverse square of distance.  I seriously doubt very weak mobile signals could explain the massive effects of colony collapse disorder.  However, according to Wikipedia, there are some who believe RF radiation could be a cause.   Maybe we should surround all beehives with tinfoil just in case.

    I remember speaking to a bee-keeper a while back who basically said the whole thing's a load of nonsense - what bee colonies do, long-term, is die off. Of course, they have founded (usually multiple) new colonies before that happens, so the species is fine. Based on what he said, there's no reason to be surprised that colonies are dying.

    More than that: beekeepers have insurance on their colonies, so they can actually benefit financially by claiming colony collapse has happened to them. Since colony collapse is such a hot topic right now, nobody really investigates these claims seriously enough, and more colony collapse cases are reported, and it becomes a hotter topic-- all the time the actual number of bees hasn't changed. In 10-15 years, this will be looked upon as some kind of slowly-spreading mass hysteria.

    And then as the coup de grace, a lot of colony collapse non-profits spout out complete bullshit "facts" to support their case: "bees pollinate 1/3rd of all the world's food crops!"* Uh. No. Bees pollinate 1/3rd of food crop *species*, the percentage of food crops affected by colony collapse is much, much lower, and the percentage of staple food crops is nearly zero. Nobody's subsisting on peaches alone.

    Anyway, the lesson is: think critically. When something appears that has no obvious cause, no rigid definition of symptoms, and most of the people pitching it have a financial incentive to, it's probably bullshit.

    Additionally, there might be a connection between length of beard and tendency to spout bullshit. Look at Burt, huge white beard, supports colony collapse disorder. Then look at the crazy homeless guy on your bus ranting about time travelling illuminati hit squads... long white beard? Yup! Funding a study into this would yield a lot more useful results than studying colony collapse disorder.

    *) From this page on burtsbees.com. Burt's Bees is, of course, another company who has a financial interest in people believing that bees are disappearing, as they sell only bee-related products. (Their example mentions the staple crop potatos-- farmed potatos aren't pollinated by bees.) Note that I've sent them an email asking them to correct or clarify the wording on their website, and got no reply. So they're complicit in misleading people.


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