Two separate studies show that while they may be small, bees and other insects are far more intelligent than we have given them credit for. Picture: AFP Photo/Mohammed Abed
Two separate studies show that while they may be small, bees and other insects are far more intelligent than we have given them credit for. Picture: AFP Photo/Mohammed Abed

Where have all the honeybees gone?

By DAVID DERBYSHIRE Time of article published May 15, 2011

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London - Signals from mobile phones and masts could be partly to blame for the mysterious deaths of honeybees.

They confuse the insects and cause them to begin flying erratically, research shows.

In tests, the workers began to emit “piping” calls - a series of high pitched squeaks that announce the start of swarming - around 20 minutes after a handset was made to ring under a hive.

Within two minutes of a call ending, they calmed down.

Researcher Dr Daniel Favre, an expert from Lausanne, Switzerland, told Apidologie journal: “The presence of an active mobile phone disturbs bees Ð and has a dramatic effect.” But the study did not show that the signals are deadly for bees, he added.

British experts insist there is not enough evidence, however.

Norman Carreck of Sussex University said: “It’s an interesting study but it doesn’t prove that mobile phones are responsible.

“If you physically knock a hive, or open one up to examine it, it has the same result.”

The number of honeybees has halved in the UK in the past 25 years. Some scientists blame changes in farming, the decline of wild flowers and pesticides. - Daily Mail

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