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Science

Cell Phones Aren't Killing Bees After All 253

Posted by Zonk
from the most-reassuring dept.
radioweather writes "A couple of weeks ago, there was a nutty idea discussed in The Independent that claimed the electromagnetic radiation from cell phones was causing bees to become disoriented, preventing them from returning to the hive. The flimsy cell phone argument was used to explain Colony Collapse Disorder. Today the LA Times reports that researchers at UC San Francisco have uncovered what they believe to be the real culprit: a parasitic fungus. Other researchers said Wednesday that they too had found the fungus, a single-celled parasite called Nosema ceranae, in affected hives from around the country."
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Cell Phones Aren't Killing Bees After All

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  • by guruevi (827432) <<evi> <at> <smokingcube.be>> on Friday April 27, 2007 @02:38PM (#18904615) Homepage
    I see more and more in common media that everybody tries to blame everything on new technology going from cancer to depression, blamed on cell phones to video games. Yet, they don't bother looking or trying to understand the deeper reasons like our old friends in the mushroom... euhm, fungi world.

    Is it an artifact of ancient religion or superstition maybe? (Like the sun and moon worshipers, or offerers of livestock and enemies, witchhunting?)
  • Re:Can't be right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Friday April 27, 2007 @02:44PM (#18904753) Journal
    It probably is technologies fault, in that the fungus is likely one that has been brought into an area filled with vulnerable bees from another area...Just another invasive species. Also, we've been encouraging a bit of a bee monoculture, and trucking hives all over the country, spreading the fungus.

    Just a hazard of the modern world. Hopefully now that we've isolated the problem, we can go ahead and solve it with the application of still more technology! (Thereby creating strains of fungus resistant to whatever it was that we used to kill the fungus, yadda yadda yadda).
  • Fungi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by uab21 (951482) on Friday April 27, 2007 @02:46PM (#18904789)
    ...can do weird things - The Jungle episode of Planet Earth the other week showed fungi infecting insects, *making them seek higher ground*, and then growing out of their dead bodies to spore anew. The behavior controlling bit was the freakiest to me - might explain the mass evacuations if it is something similar to that. I also seem to recall something a while back on /. linking to a study showing parasites 'remote controlling' host insects...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2007 @02:50PM (#18904861)
    We got to get off of the "blame something or someone" attitude until we get our facts straight. I seen enough times we were wrong the first thing that comes to our mind for some problem we faced. It is so stupid that after all this time we go back to our unproven instincts to blame something or someone for a problem. We living in the 21st century now but it feels like we are still dark ages with how we go about blaming some superstitious things for our ills.
    Bee were being killed by other things other than this fungus. In the early 1990s there we another diseases that were killing bee also and those were mites but no one ever got into the "blame the technology" witch hunt back then.
    Please our proven scientific methods before we going on our witch hunts.
  • by xC0000005 (715810) on Friday April 27, 2007 @02:50PM (#18904871) Homepage
    Now we've been dealing with normal nosema for a while. Nosema weakens bees. Imagine if a dozen roaches crawled into your lungs and lived there, multiplying. You'd have trouble breathing, and so do the bees. Nosema leaves the bees barely able to crawl in some cases, so here's how CCD could play out:

    Bees get Nosema in the fall. It weakens them greatly. In the spring as the hive turns the corner to build up, the foragers start taking cleansing flights (hell, the house bees do it too. Anything alive long enought o harden the wings probably takes a flight or two). Nosema leaves them weak, so they fall to the ground on their flight and die of exposure. House bees are held in their position by the presence of foragers but the hive's trying to build up. Soon house bees are pressed into foraging. These are infected too. Now the nurse bees are left. The ones older than five days take a few orienting flights and go at it. Nosema's a pain, so they die. What do you have left? Basically the CCD profile - a queen, the capped brood and a few dozen nurse bees in her retinue.

    You want to know how cell phones kill bees? When you set the phone down on top of one.
  • Re:Fungi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jdunn14 (455930) <jdunnNO@SPAMiguanaworks.net> on Friday April 27, 2007 @03:31PM (#18905591) Homepage
    If you find this stuff interesting, check out a book called Parasite Rex. It has all the gory details of these and a bunch of other parasites. For example, there's a fluke that lives in a snail, but needs to enter a bird to complete it's life cycle. It actually pushes the snail's eyestalk out and waves around to get the attention of predators.
  • by pycnanthemum (175351) on Friday April 27, 2007 @11:39PM (#18908993) Homepage Journal
    Domesticated honeybees themselves are introduced to North America from Europe (and there is also the African subspecies, sometimes called "killer bee," on the continent as well). If honeybees are being attacked by a pathogen and seem to have no defense against it, it could just as well be a native pathogen vs. an introduced or newly evolved one.

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