Are they still disappearing? – Scientists thought they had the mystery of the declining number of bees solved, but other researchers don’t agree with them: They think Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) can be traced to cell phones. But the bees that are still here are working hard (and NOT just gathering honey) So what’s going on, anyway?

Now researchers in India say the cause of CCD is radiation from cell phones, which interferes with bees’ sense of navigation. They set up a controlled experiment that compared the behavior and productivity of bees in two nearby hives, one that had 2 cell phone attached it and one that didn’t. The phones on cell phone hive were turned on for two 15-minutes sessions a day for 3 months. After this time, there was a dramatic decline in number of bees in the cell phone hive because the Queen laid many fewer eggs, and the mature bees also stopped producing honey.

There is more CCD in the UK than anyplace else in Europe, even in areas without high cell phone use. Israelis are one of the world’s top users of cell phones and most of their honey bees are imported from Australia, so does CCD does exist there? It does, but they have attributed it to a parasite (although there is very little CCD in Australia, where the bees originate–perhaps because of lower cell phone use there?)Meanwhile, German security is using bees for sniff out toxins at Dusseldorf airport by checking the honey from special aviaries they have set up there. In, Lin Edwards reports that, “Pollution at airports has a number of sources, including aircraft, cars, buses, and industries, which often cluster in the vicinity of airports.” The honey is labeled “Dusseldorf Natural” and given away.

Our hearty American bumble bees seem to be less affected by CCD and they also have a unique way of warding off predators. Scientists have always assumed that the bright yellow and black stripes on the bodies of bumblebees may be what keeps them safe from their enemies, since a bird that has once been stung while trying to eat one will never repeat that attept. But this may not be what warns predators away: It may be their BUZZ. In BBC News, Katia Moskvitch quotes biologist Nigel Raine as saying, “The first time a bird eats a brightly colored bumblebee it gets a nasty surprise. Remembering the bee’s bright colors may help the bird to avoid making the same mistake again.”

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