Cell phones killing off global bee populations

Last Updated: May 14, 2011, 10:45 AM IST

London: The mobile phone may be a blessing for millions of people worldwide, but it has also become a deadly bane for bees, say experts.

Researchers say mobile phone signals may explain the sudden drop in the global population of bees, which play a significant role in propagating agriculture and horticulture, according to the journal Apidologie.

Daniel Favre, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, concealed cell phones in hives under controlled conditions.

When Favre and his team monitored the results, they found the phone signals bewildered the bees who began to fly in a zigzag manner and then collapsed, according to a Federal Institute statement.

The researchers conducted more than 80 experiments in which they recorded the insects` reactions to mobile phones when they were switched off or making calls.

Bees also produced a 10-fold greater noise whenever such a phone made or received a call. But they behaved normally once the phone was switched off or put on standby.

Favre explained: "The bees` noise drastically increases as soon as the phone rings. Rays from the phone and the noise clearly disturb the bees. This gives the bees the signal to leave the hive. But often they are so confused they fly to their death."

IANS