Cellphones killing bees?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Grantywanty, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I think it better to look carefully at the development of new bees with in the hive. Fact that they do not find dead bees in the hive is reasonable good indication that few die there. Normally, in summer the are out working break a wing etc. and die. Unlike many animals, bees can not repair any damage the sustain.

    Again this is consistent with my POV that bees are only the cells of the living hive organism. Our cells are dying all the time and like bees, they just get replaced.

    I suspect, if GM toxins built into each cell are causing the CCD problem, including the pollen, which is the only protein source for making new bees, then it is like Thalidomide - I.e. causing fatal gestations defects, but harmless to the adult bees.
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Reading about, I'm not finding much new. But there is this:

    Two federal agencies are testing bee feed to determine if it is tainted with a pet food additive blamed for killing cats and dogs, and whether that could also be responsible for the widespread collapse of honeybee colonies, a newspaper reported.

    No bees in 20 test cages have died 10 days into the three-week study, but Jeffrey Pettis, the research leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he wanted to determine if melamine is linked to Colony Collapse Disorder ....

    .... "I think it's a great thing that they're looking at it," said Maryann Frazier, a honeybee extension specialist. "I think the key to this is going to be ruling things out."
    (NEPA News)​

    Part of me, of course, just groans: We're still at the "ruling things out" stage.

    And then I cheer up. It's more than we normally do. If this was the 1980s, we'd let the bees die off and then blame the Democrats. So, hey, we're not extinct yet. Everyone cheer up.
    Last edited: May 19, 2007
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  5. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    My bet appears to be correct. Here is that "bet", but see all of my post 27 for my logic (built on my understanding of how bees find their home and fact dead bees are not found inside the hive.) of why disease, not cell phones, was the problem.
    See my post at:


    for why this is POV is becoming accepted and the fantastic advances in lowering the cost of DNA sequencing and quality imporvements, including now doing things previously impossible by the new "meta.sequencing" approach. (Called the greatest advance since the microscope by the Nat. Accad. of Sciences for understanding germs etc.)
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  7. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Well, HERE'S something new - just a few days old. They may have possibly found link between the die-off and an obscure virus. It's also possible that the virus may be working in conjunction with one or mare problems that have long been identified. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20612274/

    Not too far back, I had a continuing running 'shooting match' with a member here who thought the best (or was it maybe the only) way to deal with the problem was to forget honeybees and use other insects for pollinators. My position was give the scientists a little time to work on the problem - at that moment it was still VERY new. And now I'm quite happy to report that my stance was most likely justified. They found a 96.1% correlation which is pretty much a smoking gun in anybody's book!

    They aren't finished yet, of course, so let's give them some more time. But once again it proves that it's very foolish to just throw out the baby with the bath water. Just give the people with the knowledge, experience and tools some time to do their job instead of attempting to reinvent a probable faulty wheel. The idea of "other natural pollinators" was absurd from the beginning. Moths, indeed!!:bugeye:
  8. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

  9. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

    Thanks for keeping the topic in the back of your mind!

    I just wanted to add that the virus 'cause' does not rule out other factors:

    and of course humans playing a marginal to large role in the problem. Organic bee farms are not experiencing problem.
  10. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    You're very welcome.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I used to be an avid beekeeper and admire the hard-working little critters very much. In addition to that, this is something of great importance to our food supply.

    Oh, absolutely. And it may be some of those other factors that weakens them and allows the virus to do it's damage. Similar to the deaths you hear about in some people being attributed to pneumonia. Yes, that's what actually killed them in the end but it wouldn't have if they had not been weaked by other problems. Several older famous people have died just like that. The jury is still very much out and there's a lot of work left to be done. But that 96% correlation factor is still VERY impressive!

    I haven't notice much as to reports of organic management not having any problems. Do you happen to have a source for something on that?
  11. MrCrowley Registered Member

  12. kmguru Staff Member

    I am not sure if anyone discussed the die off could also be caused by higher amount of UV-B radiation hitting the bees due to a combination of Ozone depletion and Sun's increase in radiation cycle (Solar storms).

    There is an increase in solar radiation in Oregon in the last 25 years.
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    While I doubt that is the casue, it is much more plausible to me than "cell phones." My first guess (from my experiments as bee keeper) was that the bees could not find way back to hive if cell phone* was placed on the "landing lip." I guessed this as one winter I put a brick there to have half close the hive so cold air would not blow in so much and that nearly killed the hive.)

    Bee's vision is very different from human image on retina vision - sort of a pattern match process built on the pattern of space from which the light comes. My birck caused a mis match just as they got near the entrance and they aborted the return to hive. - By the time they could find way back in, they could not fly in the below freezing weather. (They only go out very briefly in cold weather to go to the bath room outside of the hive.)

    Thus, too much UV into their eyes may may be a problem. Bees see way out into the UV and use the different "UV colors" of all the flowers which appear equally "white" to humans to know which "white flower" is currently with nectar flow. Human vision does not quite span one octave, but the bee's vision spans approximately two! Bees live in a world that is much more full of colors than humans do. Mess with it in the UV could be very serious for them. Perhaps the equivalent of "snow blindness" for a human lost in the artic on a sunny day with no dark sun glasses.
    *I noted in prior post that if it was a cell phone effect, it would probably be just as strong for cell phone that had no battery.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2007
  14. kmguru Staff Member

    That is what I was thinking....it takes very small amount of changes in the ecosystem to have a large effect to small creatures. Somewhere I read that abrupt changes in ecosystem even if minor ones (amplitude) cause plauges and other nasty viruses and bacteria population to increase or decrease thus upseting the balance.

    While planetary increase in EMF radiation due to human activities can also cause issues, but because the energy level is proportional to the square of the distance, it is more like the solar radiation - high energy UV radiation can even penetrate several feet of water - that could be more of a culprit.

    BTW, they were talking about Cell Phone towers rather than Cell Phone itself which is in milliwatt range (digital ones).
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for infro - I never read the original report.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So if a virus is the central factor, and the virus is handled somehow, you'd be comfortable going back to the revealed complete dependence on the one domesticated bee for pollination of that large a fraction of the human food supply?

    People here would be happy to see us go from disaster, revealed vulnerability, to whew, caught it in time - without ever taking steps at reducing the vulnerability? This is the only problem we are ever going to have, with our dependence on a single kind of bee worldwide?
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Basically mono-pollinator for many crops (like the trend to mono- crops and within each crop a "most productive strain" is a real concern.)

    The solution is to give a government based inducement for some crop diversity to remain, but in the case of bees, I do not know what can be done except to appreciate and protect wild colonies. I.e. big fine for chopping tree of their hive down just to steal some honey etc. Almost all domestic bees are the Italian ones, but in Brazil the African hybrids exist (by accident). The "killer bees" of some fame a decade or so ago. Food could get expensive, but so long as wild bees work for us too, that will not be a disaster.

    I am more concerned with special corn being GM developed for the growing alcohol industry.
  18. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Ah, yes - it was YOU.

    After all this time, you still don't fully understand - do you?
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So do you find the mere possibility of a return to the status quo a satisfactory response, or not?

    Back in the 70s, the US planted something like like 2/3 of its corn acreage in one range of corn varieties - and almost lost the whole thing in one year, to a fungus that had adapted well to a strain used in all those hybrids. Emergency responses of various kinds - fungicides, firebreak harvesting, quick identification of the problem, etc - were made, of course, but that was not all. The response was not "hurray, we have identified the problem and know how to fix it". The response was "We are too dependent on this one kind of corn. We need more diversity, or next time we're going to get hammered." The research efforts were boosted immediately, the development well funded, various prophylactic practices and agencies established as a matter of urgency. The necessary diversity was mandated, by law, for the future. That was a wise response.

    We don't have enough diversity in our pollinators of food crops. We are too dependent on a narrow range of honeybee varieties. We need more diversity or next time we are going to get hammered. How hard is that to understand?
  20. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Your suggestion isn't at all hard to understand. But it's the implementation that's nearly impossible and impractable. The natural pollinators you keep talking about do not exist in sufficient numbers, little is known about trying to domesticate them to do the job(s) you suggest NOR is hardly anything at all known about what diseases and other things they are susceptible to. On the other hand, a TREMENDOUS amount is known about about the domestic honeybee and a very large industry is already in place to breed, manage and care for them.

    Your comparison with that corn problem is not a valid one. I understand the principle behind that - putting all the eggs in one basket - but it's still not close enough to the same situation. With a very few rare exceptions, the honeybee is a universal pollinator And the ONLY one known that will handle almond trees - there is no alternative that we are aware of.

    There's nothing wrong with trying to develop alternate pollinators on a low- priority basis but for now the BIG money and BIG research efforts MUST be placed on honeybees. If not, then it could be compared to your corn problem if you assumed that was the ONLY variety of corn available. Because the development of any alternative(s) will take a tremendous amount of time which we don't have and might not pay off anyway.
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Read-only is correct that only bees do a good job in most cases, but iceaura is also corrrect that the dominance of only the Italian strain of bees (at least in the US) is a danger that could have disaterous consequences for US food and fiber production - about the only thing US has an natural advantage over China in. (BTW China has started construction on the 7,700km large diameter pipeline to its vast reserves of oil and gas in the western provinces (possibly more energy than in all the middle East - not well explored by western countries because too far from any port and in very mountaneous terrain and fact it belongs to China, not known to be friendly to western oil companies.)

    I wonder if flying pollenating "Nanobots" could not be developed in a decade or two. Very small things easily fly or "drift under control" in air currents. Solar collector wings should be more than adequate power source. Could program them to return to their "home box" like bees do as evening approaches. Varriantes, specifically designed for each crop, might be better than bees.

    Now probably just a crazy thought, but that is my defect - I can't think with the crowd. For example, now* I am sure US and EU will be in deep depression in 4 + or - 3 years.
    *The rapid growth of "sovern funds" and "islamic bonds" has removed any slight doubt I had.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2007
  22. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    sorry to bring back an old thread but I was wondering, are bees still disappearing or have their numbers started to rebound?
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member


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