Gallery: It’s Official – Cell Phones are Killing Bees


Scientists may have found the cause of the world’s sudden dwindling population of bees – and cell phones may be to blame. Research conducted in Lausanne, Switzerland has shown that the signal from cell phones not only confuses bees, but also may lead to their death. Over 83 experiments have yielded the same results. With virtually most of the population of the United States (and the rest of the world) owning cell phones, the impact has been greatly noticeable.

Led by researcher Daniel Favre, the alarming study found that bees reacted significantly to cell phones that were placed near or in hives in call-making mode. The bees sensed the signals transmitted when the phones rang, and emitted heavy buzzing noise during the calls.  The calls act as an instinctive warning to leave the hive, but the frequency confuses the bees, causing them to fly erratically. The study found that the bees’ buzzing noise increases ten times when a cell phone is ringing or making a call – aka when signals are being transmitted, but remained normal when not in use.

The signals cause the bees to become lost and disoriented.  The impact has already been felt the world over, as the population of bees in the U.S. and the U.K. has decreased by almost half in the last thirty years – which coincides with the popularization and acceptance of cell phones as a personal device.  Studies as far back as 2008 have found that bees are repelled by cell phone signals.

Bees are an integral and necessary part of our agricultural and ecological systems, producing honey, and more importantly pollinating our crops.  As it is unlikely that the world will learn to forgo the convenience of cell phones, it is unclear how much they will contribute to the decline of bees, and their impact on the environment.

Via Daily Mail


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  1. pulsar May 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I find it interesting that the study showed results for a cell phone in or near a hive, rather than any actual realistic measure of distance from it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t store my phone in or near a hive. I don’t think I know anyone who does. Did they use a control group for the study? If so, how did they account for background cell signals from surrounding areas? There are as many holes in this study as there are in the hive. Thanks, but I’ll be waiting for the peer review on this one.

  2. feloneouscat May 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

    The original poster is wrong. Daniel Favre USED to work for Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, but did not at the time of the paper. This was “research” conducted by ONE man, not an entire lab. His paper even states “This work was performed under the full responsibility of the main author.”

    Reading his paper, he obviously doesn’t understand how cellular mobile phones work. In order to keep track of the nearest ground based antenna, they constantly talk back and forth. These radio waves are the same whether you are actively talking or waiting for a call. Yet his experiment ONLY indicated that the bees were perturbed during an active call.

    Now, here is the kicker, the EU has one system, but the United States has multiple, all working at different frequencies. China, a country that is not cell phone rich, is experiencing the same bee die off.

    This shows a failure to understand the basics of the technology he was dealing with in order to produce a credible research paper. It feels more like someone trying to prove a what he believes is correct, rather than testing a hypothesis. I couldn’t find if he used a hive that was in a cell phone free area (I guess not or he couldn’t call the other one). So he kinda blows his entire test.

    Now, INSECTICIDES and AIR POLLUTION are ubiquitous and are quite problematic. It exists pretty much everywhere (esp. in China). But to do something about this means changing our way of life (good luck with that).

  3. mtbiker9 May 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    If these findings are correct, we will need to look at altering the cell phone. Instead of giving up the cell phone, move them to different frequencies.

  4. daisymac May 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    It was all going fine until I saw the end: From Daily Mail. It’s a well-known fact that every day the Daily Mail reports on somthing which will either save us all or kill us all. I do not believe that newspaper.
    Having saud that, I’d like to read the report in full and see what other scientists (peers of the researchers) think of it. More real details about the study would be much appreciated.

  5. bugmenot May 23, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I guess I’ll have to find another place to store my cell phone now that I know putting it in the bee hive scares them away

  6. mi-fi May 20, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    This is a wake up call for all of us, even if determined not to be the source of CCD. No longer can we continue in ‘business as usual’ mode and ignorantly ignore the rapid devastation the human population is causing to nearly all the inhabitants of Earth. And, I would like to see additional sources of study on this with much more detail and technical specifics such as harmful hertz level and frequency range, 3G and 4G effects, voice signal vs. data signal effects, etc…

  7. Barking Spider May 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    They have already found that it’s the pesticide clothianidin they are using that is affecting the bees. The EPA did research and found this to be harmful to bees and approved it anyway Do a Google search, easy to find.

    The article also states that the decline started 30 years ago. How many people did you know with a cell phone in 1981?

    Have you ever been out to the country were most bees are? How well does your cell work out there? Exactly.

    This is just another ‘power lines cause leukemia’ scare.

  8. dmondello May 20, 2011 at 10:33 am

    The real problem is not cell phones, although the EPA and the pesticide companies sure would like you to believe it is.

  9. bobenns May 18, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Well I have to agree with “bellncula”, when they change the title of the article you know things aren’t exactly kosher. And I also have to agree that the title “Bees get mad at ringing cell phone placed in their hive” is much more realistic. I think anything placed in the hive would upset them if it emits noise or vibration.

    How about putting some bee hives next to Fukushima power station and see if we can’t blame that for killing all the bees on the planet, retroactively!

  10. Dave-o May 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I have no agenda on this issue, whatsoever. I find it interesting that a human looking at bees can determine whether they are “confused” or “lost”… how is that in anyway possible? I propose that this is research with an agenda… a predetermined result. This is terribly commonplace with funded researchers wanting to please funders… who want a specific outcome. Again, I just want facts, no matter where they go… I just get a sense that not only is this article blindly taking things as truth far too easily and unquestioned, but that there is shoddy research on the matter. I would like to learn more about the subject with more responsible journalism and study.

  11. zyghost May 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    The actual study can be found here

    It is hardly as conclusive as Lori Zimmer indicates, and in fact the author points out that further study is needed.

  12. murcury May 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    How do cell phones effect other types of bees and insects? Any ‘collapse’ issues with them? Maybe honey bees can sense a danger in EMI that we cannot, or maybe the presence of humans is skewing the reaction of the hive. Decline of bees and increase in cell phone use are not necessarily causally correlated, and this study really needs to be developed properly in order to rid this theory of a ‘green taint’.

  13. darcyshirley May 16, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I’m not sure if anyone asked this yet but….

    ….can I see the cited study? Or where is it published? I don’t doubt that cell phone frequencies can have this effect, but I’d like to see the original study to take a look at the methodology.

  14. bellncula May 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    humm Interesting. The articles title has changed from ‘It’s Official Cell Phones are Killing Bees’ to ‘More Scientific Studies Indicate That Cell Phones are Harming Bees’

    It’s an improvement but still not entirely accurate. The Lausanne study only indicates that the bee’s were disturbed, not harmed.

    A more accurate headline could be “Bees get mad at ringing cell phone placed in their hive”

  15. theinvisibleduck May 16, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I agree with several others figure out what frequencies are bothering them, and then pass legislation that we cant use those frequencies anymore.

  16. Dragonmother May 16, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Add this to the problems of the bees that are negatively affected by consuming GMO pollen and pesticides, and you have the decline of one of the most important insects on the planet. “When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn” Where Have All the FLowers Gone” Peter Paul and Mary

  17. Bimochan Dahal May 16, 2011 at 6:27 am

    I’m trying to make this news travel through the minds of self-Oriented humans. IT really made me think for sometime. Perhaps we may reduce the use of cell phones in their breeding places. I hope it’ll go alright.Well, everybody has affection for bees actually………..

  18. bobenns May 16, 2011 at 12:28 am

    Actually, they use cellular systems, yes bees invented cellular technology before mankind existed.

  19. nintendofan345 May 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    So, does this mean that bees really don’t have instinctive flying and get all their flying instructions from the hive mind?

  20. PrivateOne May 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    The bees are dying, as are many other species because of the increased metallic residues they are ingesting from residue left on plant life from the atmospheric spraying of aluminum & other particles all over the world.(chem trails to the average reader) This has nothing to do with a cell phone transmission frequency. Bees do not naturally habitate in proximity close enough to be widely effected in any measurable way.

  21. kennyboy May 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    ogremkv I’m glad we agree so much. You’re a true hero. Finger on the pulse!

  22. ogremkv May 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I always find it amusing when people go off like this. Yet, it is exactly what I’m saying.

    Does anyone here honestly believe that the population of this planet could survive without modern technology? I’ll freely admit that many things are used that maybe shouldn’t be. I’ll freely admit that corporate greed overcomes both common sense and long-term benefits.

    Unlike you, I will defend anyone’s right to say whatever they want, whenever they want. I will however, stand up and call those to lie ‘liars’ and those who preach one thing and say another ‘hypocrite’.

    Now, look carefully at what I originally posted. I said, that people who complain about modern technology while using the benefits of modern technology are hypocrites. I stand by that statement. Five 1,000,000-Watt radio stations put out way more EM radiation than does a cell phone tower. CB radios and walkie-talkies put out more EM radiation than cell-phones. Heck, the cordless phone in my house operates on some of the same frequencies in this study and puts out way more power than my cell. What about microwave radiation that is baking us right now? Yep, satellite TV providers are pouring 50W of power per channel onto our planet. Don’t forget the advanced radar systems that can actually cook birds in flight. 400,000 Watts of microwave radiation on 10 square inches will do that.

    Oh and Kenny, it might interest you to know, that I was the first person, including the author, to actually post verifiable and correct information.

    Finally, I’m sorry that you are unable to handle adult conversation. Perhaps, if you posted facts and verifiable information instead of random rants, people would take you more seriously.

  23. Kennyboy May 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    ogremkv, YOU’RE TOTALLY RIGHT! These hypocrite liberals have NO RIGHT to complain about or critique the lifestyle they inhabit, especially if it kills something as stupid or useless as bees. I mean come ON there’s no point in trying to change the system from within. That’s dumb. They should stop driving cars, if they don’t like air pollution or that supposed “oil spill”. They should quit using up the air that good honest Americans like us breathe. They should never question the hand that feeds them. They should try what I do: ignore it. It’ll go away if you don’t pay attention. You can’t change anything, and you have no right to criticize it if you’re part of it, however unwillingly. Social conventions state that if you frustrate someone on the internet with a sane or logical or scientifically verifiable fact, you should leave them alone, and quit voicing your opinions. You’re welcome, hippies. Go join the Amish. Then the FDA can arrest you for selling milk. And ogremkv will be at peace once more.

  24. ogremkv May 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

    To all those who are saying that we should give up the cell phones and/or turn them off.

    Might I suggest then, that you get off the internet? And quit watching TV. And turn off the radios. All of that is EM radiation.

    It is very frustrating to here all complaints about modern technology by a person USING modern technology.

    Thank you

  25. aldebaran May 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I am doing a apiculture course and, quoting the teacher, the main observable cause for the death of bees is said by most beekeepers to be varroa, a fast spreading parasite. Also the pesticides contribute as well as other diseases. Mobile phones /sonic pollution / electromagnetic pollution can be further causes. The death of the bees is likely a mix of all this factors, as cancer is a mix of a number of toxic pressures, lack of nutrients, dehidration, etc.

  26. bobenns May 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Kennyboy, just hilarious, you deserve a prize of some kind. We go from one extreme to the other. From reading the comments posted its easy to see that a lot of people don’t think for themselves.
    Peregrine Falcons are making a strong comeback these days after nearly being wiped out by DDT. I wonder if any real studies have been done on how bees may be falling victim to bio-magnification of pesticides or other toxins.

  27. Kennyboy May 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I have to agree with my fellow Teabaggers on this one, guys. George W Bush debunked Global Warming, this is exactly the same thing, a liberal conspiracy to inconvenience us, JUST LIKE that “oil spill”… despite all your links to peer reviewed articles supporting this, I don’t have time or patience to read hippie garbage and believe that Obamacare is going to bankrupt me. You’ll get my cell phone when you pry it from my cold dead hand. WHO CARES? They’re just bees. We need to give the richest people in this country BIGGER tax breaks so they can save the world. Monsanto should create a new patented GMO honeybee that won’t be bothered even if I drop my new iPhone in the Queen’s chamber. AMERICA FIRST!

  28. Myalu May 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    when things get too technologically dependent….its time to scale it back, anyway. Cancer inducer, bee killer…what next? Everything in moderation is a great slogan to live by. The American culture has no balance between work and down-time already. Similar to the recent studies on how higher levels of noise pollution is contributing to health problems and shorter life spans. Ditch the phones…not worth the pain.

  29. Kiwini May 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    “It’s Official- Cell Phones are Killing Bees” is the title tag for this post, but “Official” and “are” are in no way indicated by any of the research you cite in the article. You quickly move from the deceptive “are harming bees” to the more qualified “may be to blame” and “may lead to their death” in the article. Even the Daily Mail article headlines with “may” and leads their article with “could be partly to blame”.

  30. Auriellea May 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    There was another study in done India, CNN reported on this last year in June 2010. In the UK, some wireless industry “group” parroted older studies that disproved the theory (as if past findings in science are static? That’s there idiotic defense?) Pesticides industry (monsanto, et al) must love these headlines, since it’s very likely their use is contributing to insidious manifestations of ill health in bees and who knows what else. Organics anyone? Community Ag programs? Find ways to grow your own? My guy and I and my parents are the only people I know who don’t have cell phones, and don’t want the intrusion in our lives. Why people want such an intrusion is beyond me… It used to be every minute… but now a sucker is being born every second. Most of what I see in the world today just seems insane to me.

  31. RoHarp May 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

    As I understood it a few years ago when this was first noticed, it’s not just *in* the hives that this is a problem, but out and about as they collect pollen. They’ve been getting disoriented and unable to find their hives. Then they die.

  32. waiheng May 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I would like to know who funded this research as I am concern that making this sweeping statement will get the pesticide companies off the hook. I will not be surprised that mobiles phones could upset the bees’ orientation but why then is Australia which also uses mobile phones with towers everywhere not have this problem? Bear in mind there are 2 major problems affecting bees- one is the colony collapse disorder and the other is varroa mite. The new class of pesticides have been banned in Europe as it is so highly toxic to insects. This pesticide is used to dress seeds which remains not only in the plants as they grow but also washes into the environment. I suspect the second problem afflicting bees has to do with extensive monoculture amd the subsequent lack of bio diversity which means that the bees’ source of nutrition is limited hence affecting their health and ability to withstand diseases and other such attacks.

  33. chinni May 14, 2011 at 1:29 am

    True to the core. Know and confirm to the fact and science from the team of researchers under Daniel Favre. Agreed to the “bobennus” contribution to nutralize the intensity of the threat. Apis cerana infdica is a indegenous specie in Mahabaleshawar and Suthern Part of India, which was attacked with a virus (Thai sac brood disease) and every body thought, beekeeping with cerana has gone to dogs. But cerana bee has sustained and adopted and developed into different strain without any human intervension, but beekeepers have cleaned them by spraying 5% Potassium permanganate solution, therefore some beekeepers have sustaiend their business.
    Pollination has tow companants pollinyzers and pollinators if any of the componant imbalances, dooms day ahead! digging our owngrave cheers!!

  34. Honestly May 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I’m all for research that teaches us about what’s going on, but your heading (as pasted above) that “cell phones ARE killing bees, is not corroborated in your article. The first two sentences alone use the word “may” three times. “May” does not equal “Are”. Please do not use alarmist tactics to drive people here. You will attract more bees (ahem) with honey, than with exaggerations. Thank you.

  35. Meteormaid May 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Maybe we just need to turn our cell phones off except in designated areas or in the home or work. I mean really who the hell really needs to be tuned in every minute of the day especially when out in nature or driving. I personally turn my ringer off and check it when I have a minute to catch up.

  36. DamienMcKenna May 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Please read that. The EPA knew that a certain pesticide from Bayer would be *extremely* harmful to bees and other insects but licensed it for wide-spread use anyway.

  37. DougI May 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Unless bees have taken up the habit of using cell phones this study is crap. A vibrating cell phone would be seen as something attacking the hive, hence the disturbance to the hive and the bees erratic behavior. The same thing would happen if you wound up a chattering teeth toy and stuck it in the hive.

    I really think the authors of the study didn’t bother to understand much about bee behavior.

  38. bobenns May 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    A number of years ago it was reported that there was a tremendous decline in frog populations in Ontario. The cause was a mystery but there was concern that it was an omen of what was coming. I’m not sure what the frog status is these days, but all species go through these cycles. Note the unexpected Fraser River Sockeye run last year. They have been in decline for decades, then suddenly there is a record run. What is happening to bees may well be a natural cycle of sorts. They did survive DDT!

  39. bodhidude May 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Banning cell phones is an absurd suggestion because its never going to happen, technology is not going away, its here to stay. So we need to be sensitive and conscious of how it effects the natural world and do whatever it takes to adapt our technology to the health and well being of the planet. It can be done its just got to be made a priority and something like this just might do that. We need to do studies with devices using other frequencies and/or transmission methods and find an approach that does not effect bees to this degree, we will do it, we must.

  40. AmyZM May 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    CCD is a serious, possibly ecosystem-threatening problem. Can we do some real analysis instead of pseudoscience?

    The Daily Mail’s miserable excuse for science reporting is pure sensationalism and downright dishonesty, from the “83 experiments” to the “dying bees.” What the study showed was that close proximity to a transmitting cell phone made bees pipe. That is all. Try this as a responsible alternative to the Daily Mail:


  41. bellncula May 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Woah! Okay everybody, let’s do some critical thinking here before we proclaim something to be “official” Inhabitat’s doesn’t source the original published paper, they site their source as The Daily Mail (TDM), a respected harbinger of scientific breakthroughs (it’s called sarcasm). TDM also doesn’t link to the original paper, they only site the researcher. Here are the first two sentences of the TDM article, “Signals from mobile phones could be partly to blame for the mysterious deaths of honeybees…In the first experiment of its kind…” The first thing is that TDM writer says “could” not “is”. Second, it’s the first of this kind of experiment. One published experiment does not equal a scientific consensus. For a thesis to become scientific consensus the experiment need to be replicated and published in a pier-reviewed journal. And it’s only after there have been many replicated experiments and published papers that we get close to something that can be called “official”. And it looks like the researcher didn’t read a lot of the current literature on the subject (I base that claim solely on TDM article, so I could be wrong), because the NYT, a legitimate harbinger of scientific advancements, published this article on colony collapse disorder last year;
    Notice how the NYT links to the original paper, sited in their article, within the first four paragraphs? Inhabitat is an awesome green-design blog, I’m a subscriber and everything. But Lori Zimmer’s post and wildly reckless headline does nothing other than point out the sorry state of on-line science journalism and incite those who already have a confirmation bias towards being anti-technology. The four links in her post link to other post on inhabitant about a dress, a building in Switzerland, a phone made out of paper and a high-tech hi-rise inspired by a honeycomb. She has no business writing on science.

  42. Alwyn May 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I am feeding bees, and have a cell phone. They are fine (the bees). While magnetic signals do confuse the worker bees, certainly, as the author said, cell phones are not a component of normal bee hives. I would like to see the results duplicated with proximity noted. Also, we are part of a larger shifting magnetosphere, and this may have more to do with what is happening to the bees than our meager efforts. Having said that, there is still no excuse for Imidacloprid. STOP using pesticides and tell all your friends to do the same – especially anything that contains Imidacloprid or Clothianidin or any of the other neonicotinoids. This is well documented. For other bee info see:

  43. Mark Montgomery May 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    There should be studies made around cell phone towers to see the effect on bees. I would assume that the signals are much stronger at the transmission source than at the phone. I haven’t been able to uncover ANY studies where bees are placed within an array around a cell tower. This would probably not be a good study for the phone companies. I would guess that is why it hasn’t been done yet. As a beekeeper I am feeling the pain of decreased production and low survival rates. The climate has been terrible for the past 4 years here in Kansas City. The bees don’t have a chance in the long term picture. Add to that the systemic poisons available to any moron in the US to doesn’t read labels. It is a grim picture. I live for the moment.

  44. memeweaver May 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    @Bobenns: Your comment is spatial mapping is *exactly* the one I was going to make. I could put an electric toaster or toothbrush inside a beehive and it would aggravate the bees

  45. amy7141 May 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Actually, no link has been found between cell phones and bees dying…read this interesting article by an entomologist (insect expert).

    What is actually killing the bees is a tiny bug known as the Varroa mite.

  46. bobenns May 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    About the only conclusion you can make from this study is that a cellphone placed in a hive annoys the bees. I suppose if a cellphone placed in a nursery annoyed the baby we could conclude that cellphones cause SIDS using the dame degree of extrapolation here. Obviously more real scientific research needs to be done before we can say “Its Official”

    And BTW, other than than in Math, nothing in science is ever proven, the results either support the hypothesis or not. Now if the results can be repeated over and over it gives stronger support. But so often there are other unknown or unmeasured factors involved. (Recall the counting horse)

    I would really like to see some spatial mapping showing bee population decline in relation to cell towers and cell users. If it is indeed cell phone frequency that is doing the harm a pattern will exist. Not all bee hives are within cell phone range.

    This is becoming one of these “urban legends”

  47. OldMosquitoMan May 13, 2011 at 11:51 am

    It is remarkable how many comments come in after someone has cited a reliable source, and in this instance a refereed scientific one, that puts an end to meaningful discussion. The rest become self-congratulatory chatter, but I guess we have to remember that everyone has to plant his own tree.

  48. joan root ericksen May 13, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Past several years talking with organic bee keepers they are not experiencing die off. They see conventional keeping using chemical for mites and not giving bees honey for food and replacing with sugar one part of the die off puzzle. Thank you for this information.

  49. BrianDAV May 13, 2011 at 7:29 am

    It’s not the wattage, it’s the frequency. If a thousand people where shouting into megaphones down the street from you, you would get agitated. If the megaphones were in a frequency range you couldn’t hear, you wouldn’t notice. The bees are irritated by the cell signal. Cell signals are stronger from towers. But, again, it’s not just how loud it seems to them, it’s the fact that it’s noise (to them) and it is around them all the time.

  50. URGH May 13, 2011 at 7:14 am

    @coyotama – Genetically engineer bees, ARE YOU NUTS? We’ve already breeded/altered bees to be larger to increase the amount of honey from the hive…. which made them susceptible to mites and is another factor in harming their health. Genetically engineering bees, plants, food is not the answer its in fact a serious problem.

  51. fayder17 May 13, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Why this article says “It’s Official”, when the Daily Mail article says “study did not show that mobile phones were deadly for bees”?

  52. Jason_Matthews May 13, 2011 at 12:34 am

    What about texting? I hardly make calls anymore and mostly text instead. Is there any difference to texting rather than making a call? Just curious.

  53. electric38 May 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Not to add fuel to the fire, but another article discussed this phenomenon a few years back. There could be many species that use radar, sonar and certain frequencies that we are unaware of but, could disrupt their way of life.

    As more countries become aware of the extremely low cost of cell towers and computer tablets for on-line virtual education, more of our existing plant and animal systems could see some interesting effects.

  54. wolflynx07 May 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Einstein “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!”

  55. seaningo May 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I had a feeling that cell phones and towers were to blame, we have to convince the makers of cell phones to make them work at a different frequency that won’t bother the bees, or something like that. People need to realize without bees WE DIE TOO!!

  56. metis May 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    inhabitat, your greenwashed source for misrepresented, un-researched eco news and ipad giveaways. now recycling 20% of old posts as new content, and churning out sponsored “news” of fashion sales.

    oh how the mighty have fallen.

  57. gino ricca May 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    It is a terrifying news ! We will end up eating our money .

  58. alternative May 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I like some of the comments. There is no Global Warming and Cell Phones can’t be the problem. Therefore let’s not do anything and then we won’t have to because we’ll all be dead or starving to death.

    How many of you when faced with what’s killing the bees really wondered if all of our WiFi activity was not the problem all along. I did.

  59. bobenns May 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    When I was a kid I used to wish that I could tune TV shows in with my head and watch them in my minds eye as I was aware that the signal was passing though me at any given time. Putting cell phones inside or beside bee hives doesn’t really prove much. The ring tone alone may set them off. Now if they could show that bee decline is higher in the proximity of cell towers that could be an indicator of something. I often wonder about all the radio waves we generate and how they affect us, but since TV has been around since just before I was born and I’ve lived with all this noise in the environment all my life and all complaints are consistent with my age I can’t prove anything. We are surrounded by remote controls and microwave ovens, cell phones and Bluetooth devices, TV station still transmit locally etc. Does all this RF disturb us somehow?
    I know a bee keeper locally, he’s in his 80s now and been doing it since the 1960s in his orchard. He doesn’t even collect the honey, he just keeps them to pollinate the fruit trees and people come to get bee stings as a folk remedy or therapy arthritis etc. I asked him about the global decline in bees. He said the mites were the big issue and people were not taking the necessary precautions. He has had no problems other than bears come after the honey. The hives are only about 50 yards from his house and another dwelling and have been there for decades.
    Pitcairn Island and other remote islands in The Pacific are very careful and protective against contamination from the outside. You cannot carry any bee products to these places. Their bees are completely isolated from the diseases and pests that face continental bee keepers.

  60. kate_bee_late May 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    does text messaging have the same effect?

  61. Herb Gardener May 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I must phone my friends and let them know.

  62. scott16 May 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

    She mentions the correlation between the decline of bee populations and cell phone popularity, but she mentions nothing about Colony Colapse Disorder, which is estimated to have killed off near 50% of North Americas bees in 2007-2008, which is the major contributor to this decline. Research stats before you believe!

  63. grimpops May 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

    at least that’s the sequel to BeeMovie sorted.

  64. Vole May 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

    The Daily Mail is NEVER a credible source. Please provide a link to a scientific paper on the subject.

  65. pipex May 12, 2011 at 8:24 am

    I absolutely agree with @ogremkv, there is nothing “Official” about this result. I will also add that I could not find anything about the “83 experiments” done. It would surprise me that the experiments had been repeated considering the paper is fairly recent (April according to the autors).

    As a side note, there is good reason to be skeptical when the source for the article is the Daily Mail.

  66. Marko May 12, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Who Cares!?!?

  67. caeman May 12, 2011 at 8:09 am

    The regulatory hurdles would be immense, lazy. The FCC would have to approve everything first. Then, the telco’s would have re-engineer and replace millions of cell tower lobes. The financial cost on the outset would be staggering.

    Personally, I would like to see further research conducted with repeated results by several trusted universities to verify the findings before asking the telcos to spend billions replacing cell tower components.

    I would think the presence of urban sprawl would have had a more disasterous effect on bees than radio noise.

  68. lazyreader May 12, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Radio and Microwave transmitters emit far higher frequencies than most cell phones. A cell phone is just a higher broadband walkie talkie, If switching frequencies is all it takes why not simply present the data to cell makers.

  69. TobiB May 12, 2011 at 7:27 am

    The source you linked claim the paper as original article of “Apidologie” which is indeed a peer-reviewed (and high ranked – 19/74 in entomology)magazine (
    The article is published under open-acess which simply means, that the author has to pay the publisher after acceptance of the article a fee ( everbody gets free access to the article. The other common way would have been not to pay a fee and only subscribers of the magazine would had access to the article. I couldn’t find a note, that this article was self-published.

    But i agree with you, that this article raises more questions than it answers. Even so the bees react on the mobile device directly in their hives, that doesn’t mean, that they react to a device in a “normal” distance in a similar manner. I haven’t found a analysis of relevance of distance in this paper.
    Also its obvious that by making a call, the signal strength of the device increases somefold above the standby mode in which the devices are most of time.
    The alternative explanations like parasites, especially the Varroa mite [Varroa destructor], monocultures, pesticides, etc. are at least as likely triggers for the CCD than mobilephone devices.

  70. ajdorsey May 12, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Agreed, this is disturbing, we need to find out what frequencies and what carriers use them and protect the bees.

  71. shinemercy May 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Ogremkv, I hereby award you the Ben Goldacre Honorary Award for the Debunking of Popular Bollocks and Bad Science, and bestow on you the title of Defender of the Verifiable Conclusion.

  72. coyo May 12, 2011 at 7:01 am

    i suppose we could change the microwave signal frequency used for establishing and making calls (not to mention data tranfers)

    or we could genetically engineer bees that are immune to the effects of EDGE/EV-DO/GSP etc, i noticed that the studies involved actual cell phones ringing. has a cell-in-call-mode without an actual cell phone been tested, where the physical device is undetectable to bees?

  73. JRoc May 12, 2011 at 6:14 am

    The statements made in the article presented here are completely without base.

    Presenting fiction as fact in the context of environmental protection is absolutely no different than industry altering evidence or putting spin on the consequences of what they do. Two sides of the same coin, and articles like this diminish our cause.

    Shame on you for putting this garbage out there.

  74. burgi May 12, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I’d take stuff mentioned in the Daily Mail with a pinch of salt. They are infamous in the UK for publishing incorrect and sensationalist articles. Their cancer scares are probably the most obvious examples of this (

  75. Banseabhag May 12, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I live in a remote area and have no cell reliable service.. It is coming I know, but this insures that I will NOT be using a phone here. I keep bees, and they have done very well, but everyone is concerned about the decline. I won’t take a chance with them.. This sounds way to ominous to ignore, but I expect no one will be willing to consider it seriously until our bees are gone, maybe not even then..God forbid we have to give up our convenient toys..

  76. gimmickless May 12, 2011 at 12:43 am

    ogremkv, thanks for digging up the official paper. I got this link from a friend who means well.

  77. scholt64 May 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    darn, ogremkv, you kind of beat me to it… everything you say about the article is correct; except it isn’t (only) self published. It was also carried in Apidologie, an insect biology journal which, I believe, is peer reviewed. Here is the link:

    It’s also worth noting that even the author characterizes this research as a PILOT study and draws no conclusions. He does suggest a number of ways in which the observations could be replicated and improved, but in no way represents his work as conclusive… a fact which escaped the author of this article, who didn’t cite the original work, and who I doubt ever read it.

    The real kicker here, it took me 10 minutes of fumbling on the internet to find this… that’s right, just 10 minutes. Is that too much work for someone to claims to be a journalist.

    This is just the kind of irresponsible science reporting that makes using real science to affect social change so damn difficult.

  78. bangaio May 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    The Daily Mail doesn’t strike me as a valid source for scientific news. However it is a very interesting study. But I would think the drop in bee populations are due to our general environmental impact? Pointing the finger at mobile phones seems to be avoiding the real issues.

  79. michaeleriley May 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    1st- I probably couldn’t dispute what’s being said; that bees react certain ways (possibly destructively) when a phone is very close to or in a hive.

    However, signal strength of radio waves attenuate very quickly – basically the inverse of the distance squared meaning in short that the signal strength 1 meter away from the phone, the signal is 1/2 the signal strength at the source. At 2 meters its 1/4th, 3 meters 1/9th, and so on. So, bees in a field 100 meters (110 yds) away from a source (base station or phone, doesn’t matter) are exposed to miniscule amounts 1/10,000th of the signal strength.

    So, as to whether cell phone networks are a significant or even minor contributing factor to the declines…I’m a little leary. Personally, I think toxic elements in the environment are a more likely source of population declines in the bee communities (not to minimize possible effects that radio waves have). Keep in mind too that all radio waves act similarly as they propogate out. Meaning that TV, FM, AM stations etc etc etc also emit radio waves and those sources are broadcasting at significantly higher power than cellular phones and even cellular base stations. For example: the ‘average’ base station broadcasts at somewhere between 50 and 100 Watts. It is not unusual for an AM radio station to broadcast at 50,000 Watts and traditional TV broadcasts are in the thousands of Watts too.

    So, in short- I don’t disagree with the possibility that cellular radio waves might disrupt bees when the power is relatively high and proximity is close. I am less convinced that cellular alone is even a measurable contributing source to the declining population. Then again, I could be completely wrong.

  80. ogremkv May 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    When writing as inflammatory an article as this, I would encourage you to use the ORIGINAL source material and NOT another popular article.

    Here’s the original research:

    Please notice that this is a self-published article. It may or may not have been peer-reviewed.

    Further note that there is are no instances of the words (or variations) ‘die’, ‘killed’, ‘dying’, etc. There is one instance of the word ‘death’ and that is in a reference, not in the body of the paper.

    Finally, note that no alteration of behavior (swarming or otherwise) was actually initiated, even after 20 hours of exposure to mobile phone headsets (the paper does not mention if they were transmitting or not*).

    This paper, at best, is a good starting point for much additional research.

    It is not “Official” that “mobile phones kill bees”.

    *This fact alone would probably disqualify the paper for peer-review until additional information and explanations are offered.

  81. Sky May 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    What if I paint my bee hive with a metallic shielding type paint like leaded paint or aluminum foil?

  82. nidget90 May 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Why not just make more bee farms, and have a strict no cell phone policy within the disturbance radius of the bees?

  83. calciphus May 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I am curious about the research as well – it just doesn’t pass the sniff test. Yes, when a high powered transmitter is placed inside a beehive and makes loud noises and flashing lights, bees get confused – but that’s not what normally happens.

    What frequencies cause this? A radio transmitter on the GSM frequency for example is considerably different than one on CDMA, LTE, or WiMax.

  84. ChairmanLMAO May 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I’m sure we can soon look forward to telecom industry shills and PR front groups engaging in the same disinformation tactics as the oil industry in light of this news.

  85. Trenlin May 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    we need to start consciously designing technology free zones. habitat for animals (and perhaps for some humans) interwoven within and around our modern human population areas. we should analyze further to discover necessary separation distances for bees, and a variety of other species. the ocean should also contain tech free zones.

  86. Greengeek May 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    @lazyreader since people tossing cell phones into hives isn’t a common practice, I doubt that bees would be fine if we simply refrained from doing that… they’re dying just from our normal use.

    The frequency band used by early cordless phones (2.4ghz) was found to interfere with other devices, so most are now 5.8ghz.. I’m not a telecom expert so I don’t know how easy it would be to retool the cell networks for a new frequency, but that would be a lot easier than convincing people to give up cell phones.

  87. toisgood May 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I’d approach this research with extreme skepticism. The pesticide people are working hard to deflect any attention. Urban areas with high cell phone use are not experiencing a problem with CCD.

    I’d look at the Honey Bee Murder Mystery party game to learn more about CCD:

    For more reactions from beekeepers I’d look here:

  88. JohnSmith May 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    “Unless people are tossing phones in beehives they’ll be fine.”

    But they are not fine now as they are dying?

  89. enoon May 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Please. The source for this was the Daily Mail? And you take any of this seriously?
    Other studies have been done by real scientists, who found no such effect from cell phones.

  90. proscriptus May 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    You’re treating the Daily Mail as a reputable source? That’s like quoting Fox News on the Liberal War on Marriage. Celphones and beehives are seldom in proximity, and the inverse square law means there would be essentially undetectable emissions from the phones even a few meters away. This is junk reporting.

  91. bobenns May 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Sounds very similar to the global warming myth, you can’t prove it either way. GW Bush dispelled that one. Raising these alarms is only going to stifle the cell phone economy and reduce profits for the corporations. We can’t have that.

  92. Gen Zet Nisis May 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    First, let us artificially pollinate with planes! And then we make an artificial ecosystem!!! A bit later, we get artificial organs! Eventually when there are too many humans, we convert ourselves to software! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  93. thedisgruntledarchitect May 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I am also a bit skeptical, and I like Meirad’s solution as a practical one. Either way, its a fascinating study and it certainly brings up the point that anything we do will leave a footprint…now that we know one of the possible consequences let’s see what we can do to reverse or solve the problem. I agree no one is going to give up cell phones, so we should get creative with a solution now that we know the problem exists.

  94. lazyreader May 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    active mobile phones placed directly inside a beehive can induce the worker piping signal (in natural conditions, worker piping either announces the swarming process of the bee colony or is a signal of a disturbed bee colony); the author mentioned that “phones are not present in the close vicinity of honeybees in real life” and did not indicate what negative effect, if any, working piping might have within a colony, nor was any link to CCD demonstrated. Unless people are tossing phones in beehives they’ll be fine.

  95. meirad May 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    So all we need to do is switch signals right? A frequency that doesn’t bother the bees would work.

  96. caeman May 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Ban the cell phone! They kill drivers AND bees. What more reason to we need now? Finally an issue I can agree with you hippies on.

  97. Tafline Laylin May 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks Lori. This is probably some of the most disturbing news I’ve ever read. Without bees, we humans are pretty much toast since they pollinate our food. But there is no way on earth we’ll get people to stop using phones. I’m going to think about this one for a long time.

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