Bee populations around the world are in massive decline, with scientists blaming it on a lack of genetic diversity, urbanization, and increased pesticide use. Now, Swiss scientists have discovered a surprising new culprit that doesn't seem so nefarious from here: our cell phones.
The researchers conducted 83 different experiments in which cell phones were placed inside bee hives, and the bees' reactions were recorded under different circumstances. When a phone made or received a call, the bees would increase their noise levels by more than ten times, clearly being disturbed by the rays from the device. The phone then led the insects to flee the hive in a state of disarray and fly to their deaths. And if they didn't die when leaving the hive, they often would never return if there were cell phone rays nearby, contributing to abandoned hives and colony collapse disorder.
The solutions to this problem remain to be seen. What we know is that bees are in rapid decline, and that this decline is a massive threat to global food supplies and biodiversity. Technology has given us the cell phone, which is so ingrained in our society that one feels lost without it. Can it create a fix to this bee decline, or will bees continue to fall away into extinction? For now, turn your phone off next time you encounter a hive. Even better, start an urban bee colony!
- Mitchell Flexo
(via Daily Mail)