The Buzz around the Negative Effects of Cellphones on the Natural World

by Matt Klassen on May 16, 2011

Cellphones are not a neutral technology, that much at least I hope we can agree upon. Regardless of the debates of the specific impact cellphones have on our health, our children’s development, and our changing cultural psyche, the bottom line is that cellphones do impact us and the world around us, for better or for worse.

To that end, while many scoff at the supposed links between cellphone radiation and changing brain patterns, it looks like the waves emitting from our mobile handsets may also be negatively impacting the natural world, in this particular case the common honeybee, meaning that perhaps not everyone is enjoying your overly loud cellphone conversation at the local park.

For several years now scientists have been observing a steady decline in the global bee population, leaving many to wonder what external causes may have been introduced that may inhibit bee growth worldwide, and with the results of a Swiss study showing the negative effects of cellphone waves on bee navigation and demeanour, we may finally have an explanation.

A recent scientific study conducted by Swiss researcher Daniel Favre explored the changes to bee behaviours associated with close exposure to active cellphones, and the results were startling to say the least. When an active cellphone was placed in the hive, the entire colony began to exhibit signs of great distress, signs that were still evident some twelve hours later. The implication of such a reaction is that the electromagnetic waves emitted by the cellphone may end of inhibiting normal hive activity, resulting in the eventual death of the colony.

Further, there was some evidence that bees subjected to the electromagnetic fields radiating from cellphones became disoriented, leaving the hive during the normal course of their routines, but not able to find their way back.

But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, as bees, like many other critters, navigate and communicate through sound waves, waves that could certainly be disturbed by cellphones.

That being said, the results of this study are far from conclusive, and they have many bee experts rolling their eyes. What the study has shown us is that bees don’t like cellphones in their hive, and that close proximity to phones has a negative impact on navigation and behaviour, but I don’t wager that many people will be tossing their active cellphone into the nearest beehive.

The study is mum on the range at which bees become distressed by cellphone signals, meaning that until further notice; just don’t talk inside a hive. Further, some bee experts continue to assert the impact of global agricultural changes as the culprit behind the declining bee population, and dedicated studies should be focused there instead of on technology.

While I doubt that cellphones are solely responsible for the global decline in the honeybee population, it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that cellphone do impact both our physiology and the natural world around us, a fact that many mobile special interest groups continue to deem ‘inconclusive,’ letting everyone know there’s nothing to be worried about. Coincidentally, it’s the same line we’ve heard from the tobacco industry for years, which begs the question, how long will we continue to believe the propaganda?

Photo c/o CNET UK

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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May 16, 2011 at 7:52 am

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Rahul Aggarwal May 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

The electromagnetic emissions from the cell phones are sure cause of concern on the natural fauna. The bees are an important part of the life cycle and this is well depicted in the “Bee movie”. We cannot ignore the decline in bee population as the cross pollination of the flowers, which also include medical plants that is a cure for many human diseases will vanish without the bee’s aid in pollination process. Thanks for also suggesting the remedy of not using the cell phones in and around the humble bee hive!

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