Hive Dive

To Bee or not to Buzz

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That’s it! This time it’s personal. Cellphone radiation has messed with every conceivable thing, but once it messes with the breakfast honey, it’s time to take notice. Scientists of Punjab University have discovered that radiation from mobile phones is interfering with the navigational senses of bees. They installed a hive with two mobile phones that were powered on for 15 minutes daily. Soon, the queen bee was laying less eggs and worker bees had moved on to other radiation-free pastures—so no honey. Ved Prakash Sharma and Neelima Kumar, authors of a report in Current Science, wrote: ‘Increase in the usage of electronic gadgets has led to electro-pollution of the environment. Honeybee behaviour and biology has been affected by electro-smog since these insects have magnetite in their bodies which helps them in navigation.’ But it’s not just your morning cereal that will suffer. According to the US Department of Agriculture, almost a third of all human diets can be traced to insect-pollinated plants—80 per cent pollinated by bees.