For many years now a disturbing global phenomena has been developing in which bees are abandoning their colonies and going off to die in their millions. Now the latest in a long line of 'dodgy dossier' theories is that this is all the fault of mobile phones.It used to be called the 'Marie Celeste Syndrome', but now as the bee crisis spreads worldwide it is being re branded by grant hungry scientists and called 'Colony Collapse Disorder' (CCD). What ever it's name, it is very creepy:
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.
However the above description of the phenomenon pretty much disposes of the mobile phone theory as there are no mobile phones in the bee hives putting out 'radiation' to scare the predators away. If the cause of the problem was mobile phones the predators would not just be avoiding the bee hive, but running/flying/wriggling as fast as they can to get out of the 'service' area.
However there is obviously a serious problem: Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".
Bees are essential to the survival of humanity because our food stocks rely on bees pollinating our crops. Now the West Coast states in the US are thought to have lost 60 per cent of their commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast. CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
This week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, has announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been mysteriously abandoned.
A number of recent press reports , plus the usual 'green' technophobic hand wringers, have blamed mobile phones for the problem, but it is probably not as simple as that.
For example; according to a report about the bee crisis in Wales, part of the problem there dates back to 1992 when the parasitic varroa mite was discovered in Devon, probably imported on a queen by an unscrupulous beekeeper. The first wave of the mite wiped out 70% of hives, and was eventually controlled with the use of a pyrethroid compound.However the most likely cause is the highly unnatural and exploitative way in which humans have been farming bees for their honey. In fact it is the very areas in the US and Europe where 'non-organic' rather than 'organic' honey production methods are used the most that the bee hive abandonment problem has been felt the greatest.
Nearly 100 years ago Rudolf Steiner, who lectured on bee keeping amongst many subjects warned that if humans continued to use artificially produced bees rather than the wild variety "all breeding off bees will cease".
The truth at the moment, despite what you might read in the 'Independent' & Co is that no one knows exactly what is causing the bees to disappear, but it is almost certainly not mobile phones. Like Climate Change', the only thing we really know for sure is that something serious and worrying is happening, and this is causing a lot of hysterical newspaper articles. And also like 'Climate Change' we should be aware that if we don't successfully deal with the problem, it won't just be bee colony's that will be empty - it will be human cities.
• A very interesting relevant article regarding organic bee keeping..
Bee Colonies Across U.S. Continue to Die (4/7/2007)
Are GM Crops Killing Bees? (3/23/2007)
Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril (2/27/2007)
U.S. Bee Colonies Decimated By Mysterious Ailment (2/14/2007)
Parasite Devastates U.S. Bees (5/2/2005)
Mad Bee Disease (2/20/2001)