First, a few facts to lay some groundwork. Here’s what we know:
- We are currently in the Holocene Extinction — the Sixth Great Mass Extinction of species on Earth.
- Over fifty species are disappearing daily, and unlike past extinctions that involved volcanoes and asteroids, human activities are known to be the culprit this go round.
- Since last autumn, sixty percent of the West Coast commercial bee population has disappeared.
- Since last autumn, seventy percent of the East Coast commercial bee population has also disappeared.
- A study at Germany’s Landau University shows that cell phone radiation could be part of the problem.
Vanishing Bee Theories
Across America, beekeepers are missing millions of bees from their hives. Nobody has figured out what’s happened to the bees, either. The afflicted colonies are found full of honey, pollen, and larvae, but their worker bees have simply left and not returned.
Several theories have been brought forth to explain Colony Collapse Disorder — the name given the missing bee epidemic. One theory suggests CCD is due to changes in pesticides. Another theory blames genetically-modified crops.
The new “cell phone” theory speculates that radiation from mobile phones may be interfering with the bees’ navigation systems. The bees fly away, then can’t find their way back to their hives. As outlandish as this theory sounds, researchers say they now have evidence to back it up.
“I am convinced the possibility is real,” says Dr. George Carlo, who headed a massive U.S. government study of mobile phones in the 1990s.
A World Without Bees
Bees pollinate more than $14 billion worth of U.S. fruits, vegetables and nuts each year.
“Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food,” says Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation.
The implications of a mass extinction of bees are pretty scary. Most of the world’s crops are pollinated by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, “man would have only four years of life left”.
Let’s hope bees are one species that survives.
[tags]missing bees, colony collapse disorder, mass extinction, environment[/tags]