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Radiation: Friend or Foe to Honeybees

For the past several months American beekeepers have become increasingly alarmed as they discover that their bees have inexplicably dissappeared. Since November 2006, beekeepers in 27 states have lost one-quater of their colonies. Similar losses have been reported in Canada, Brazil and in parts of Europe.

A typical bee colony ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 bees and beekeepers consider a loss of up to 20 percent in the offseason to be normal. Regional losses have happened before and are considered normal, however, this is the first nation wide crisis.

Nearly one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scientists are calling the mysterious losses Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). No one is really sure what is happening. Early research indicated that some kind or disease or parasite could be the possible cause of death for the honeybees.

In a recent experiment, USDA's bee scientists irradiated some hard-hit hives and reintroduced new bee colonies. More bees thrived in the irradiated hives than in the non-irradiated ones, suggesting that some kind of disease or parasite was killed by radiation.

German researchers at Landau university have found that mobile phone signals can interfere with bees' "navigation systems".

According to reports, scientists placed "cordless-phone docking units, which emit electromagnetic radiation, into beehives". They found that "in some cases, 70 per cent of bees exposed to radiation failed to find their way back to the hive after searching for pollen and nectar".

Click below for related articles on this subject:

Electromagnetic Radiation: Influences on Honeybees

Colony Collapse Disorder- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mysterious honeybee killer could make dinner bland

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

Cellphone radiation may be killing bees: study

May 9, 2007