Ecology And Environment

Cellphone Radiation may be Killing Bees



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It has been widely reported that cellphone radiation is what is killing our honeybees. Our honeybees in the United States, as well as most of the world, are facing ever increasing mortality from a mostly unknown source. I say mostly unknown, because we do know some factors that point towards culprits, but this is a very complex issue. One primary suspect as the cause of honeybee demise, cellphone radiation, just does not appear to be the case.

A couple of "scientists" from Germany appear to be the founders of this notion that cellphones are causing the demise of honeybees around the world. They were greatly aided with the spread of this idea when ABC's "Good Morning America" show gave them a platform to spout their belief as well as provide credibility by association. It is unfortunate that putting this apparently false information back where it came from has not been easy and it seems to keep popping up as fact everywhere the topic of honeybee disappearance is discussed.

One of my personal friends, Dr. Tarpy, is a scientist at NC State University and he is one of the 15 Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) team members in the United States. Dr Tarpy explained the reasoning behind the false claim and the rational thought used to debunk it. It was one of the first and easiest theories to debunk in the slow process to determine what is the real cause of CCD. It is called a disorder on purpose because as of yet we do not know the exact cause even if we do know what does not cause it. We do have some interesting leads in what may cause CCD.

Dr. Tarpy recently sent out an e-mail showing progress and a potential lead in what may be causing CCD. Each colony that is known to have shown the trade mark signs of what has come to be known as CCD in the United States has one thing in common. Every one of them has tested positive for a virus previously unidentified in the United States. Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV)is the subject of much interest in getting to the bottom of what is really causing CCD.

This much is known about IAPV. It was first described in Israel, hence the name. It has previously not been seen in the United States. We know the virus has been found in Australia, but has not caused CCD there. The California almond groves needed honeybees for pollination and getting enough viable hives appeared to be impossible. Special permission was given to import Australian honeybee colonies to make up the shortfall. The theory being that Australian bees do not have Varroa Mites, so bringing them here would not be a concern.

What the powers that be did not consider is that we do have Varroa Mites here in the United States and we have already had problems enough with the mites vectoring other viruses that our bees have. It appears that the Virus may have come to the United States with the Australian bees and when the virus met our Varroa infested bees, CCD became a problem. It is noted, that most beekeepers that have had CCD were commercial beekeepers and had either direct or indirect contact with bees that were used to pollinate the almond crop in California.

This is a very simplified version of what is known, and a lot is still not known, including how IAPV may fit into the CCD equation. One thing that is for certain is that cell phones did not have a roll in that, unless they were used to call Australia and order the packages of bees that were shipped to California to use in pollination.

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