No Tinfoil Hats for Bees
Ever since the the UK's Independent asked "Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?" ten days ago, the internet and print media have been abuzz, with 3,317 blog postings and hundreds of print articles, all reprinting it without question.(our post here) Craig Mackintosh at the wonderful blog Celsias bothered to take the time to review background material in an excellent post here, and now posts about how the researchers quoted in the Independent have been trying to straighten out the record ever since. They say:
-they were not even using cell phones, they were using cordless phones, which work completely differently and have very short range;
-that their studies cannot indicate that electromagnetic radiation is a cause of CCD., and
"Ever since The Independent wrote their article, for which they never called or wrote to us, none of us have been able to do any of our work because all our time has been spent in phone calls and e-mails trying to set things straight. This is a horror story for every researcher to have your study reduced to this."::Celsias image from Worker bee from Nataliedee
Meanwhile the New York Times has picked up the story in some detail, listing various possible causes:
As with any great mystery, a number of theories have been posed, and many seem to researchers to be more science fiction than science. People have blamed genetically modified crops, cellular phone towers and high-voltage transmission lines for the disappearances. Or was it a secret plot by Russia or Osama bin Laden to bring down American agriculture? Or, as some blogs have asserted, the rapture of the bees, in which God recalled them to heaven? Researchers have heard it all.
This has happened before:
In the late 1990s, French beekeepers reported large losses of their bees and complained about the use of imidacloprid, sold under the brand name Gaucho. The chemical, while not killing the bees outright, was causing them to be disoriented and stay away from their hives, leading them to die of exposure to the cold, French researchers later found. The beekeepers labeled the syndrome "mad bee disease."
Imidacloprid one of a group of compounds called neonicotinoids, a common pesticide that is used to treat corn, which they seem to be growing a lot of in America these days.