NEW DELHI, Aug 31, 2009 (AFP) - The electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phone towers and cellphones can pose a threat to honey bees, a study published in India has concluded.
An experiment conducted in the southern state of Kerala found that a sudden fall in the bee population was caused by towers installed across the state by cellphone companies to increase their network.
The electromagnetic waves emitted by the towers crippled the "navigational skills" of the worker bees that go out to collect nectar from flowers to sustain bee colonies, said Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy, who conducted the study, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
He found that when a cell phone was kept near a beehive, the worker bees were unable to return, leaving the hives with only the queens and eggs and resulting in the collapse of the colony within ten days.
Over 100,000 people in Kerala are engaged in apiculture and the dwindling worker bee population poses a threat to their livelihood. The bees also play a vital role in pollinating flowers to sustain vegetation.
If towers and mobile phones further increase, honey bees might be wiped out in 10 years, Pattazhy said.