• Switzerland's news in English
 

Cell phones disturb bees' buzz - study

Published: 23 Jun 2011 13:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Jun 2011 11:53 GMT+02:00

New research carried out at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has found that bees buzz differently near mobile phone signals – causing behaviour that endangers colonies.

The research has shed light on another modern threat to bee colonies, which are already being killed off at a massive rate by pesticides and parasites.

Researchers placed two mobile phones in beehives and operated them alternately in standby mode and in connection to each other.

Results showed that when the phones were on standby, the bees' buzzing did not change, but when the phones were activated, the bees' buzz frequency rose significantly.

"This is clear evidence that the bees are sensitive to phone signals and are disturbed by mobile phones," said research director Daniel Favre.

Favre explained that bees normally only hum at a high frequency when they are about swarm out of a hive in search of food. He said that mobile phones could therefore cause the bees to leave the hive prematurely, before the queen has fully matured and there are no larvae to feed.

The disappearance of bees would have a devastating effect on the environment, as many trees and plants rely on them to reproduce.

The first major indication that bees were increasingly under threat came in 2006, when there was a wave of bee deaths in the US. Some beekeepers reported losing 90 percent of their populations, and the term "colony collapse disorder" was coined. 

Egypt, Japan, China and several European countries have since reported large-scale loss of bee populations.

Your comments about this article

2011-06-24 21:03:34 by robertsgt40
Does this mean instead of call waiting, they get a "buzzy signal"? BTW, the real destroyer of the bee in more likely Monsanto and other pesticide manufacturers.
2011-06-24 17:41:25 by Michael Rivero
This is propaganda to save the biotech industry. Cell phones have been around since the 1970s, but colony collapse disorder did not appear until 2006, around the same time that genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crops were in widespread use. Having been a bee-keeper myself when I was younger, I know that bees change their buzzing all the time., It is their "language", along with the "dance": they use to communicate the locations of newly discovered flowers to their fellow bees back at the hive.
Today's headlines
Solar Impulse passes halfway mark to Hawaii
Photo: Solar Impulse/Facebook

Solar Impulse passes halfway mark to Hawaii

The Swiss solar-powered aircraft flying between Japan and Hawaii as part of a round-the-world bid passed the halfway point of the perilous Pacific Ocean crossing Wednesday, and broke its own endurance record. READ  

Basel architects design 'Triangle Tower' in Paris
Swiss architects' controversial design for 'Triangle Tower' in Paris. Photo: AFP

Basel architects design 'Triangle Tower' in Paris

Basel-based architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron earned another feather in its cap this week when the city of Paris narrowly approved a 180-metre high pyramid skyscraper that it designed. READ  

Wawrinka draws notice for leaving shorts behind
Wawrinka posing in his famous shorts with the French Open trophy last month. Photo: Pool/AFP

Wawrinka draws notice for leaving shorts behind

Swiss tennis star Stan Wawrinka got people talking about the unconventional plaid shorts he wore while winning this year’s French Open, but now he’s attracting attention for not wearing anything at all. READ  

Biogen announces billion-franc drugs plant
Aerial view of building site for Biogen plant. Photo: Canton of Solothurn

Biogen announces billion-franc drugs plant

Biogen, an international biotechnology company, announced on Tuesday plans to invest one billion francs ($1.06 billion) for a new drug manufacturing plant in Luterbach in the canton of Solothurn. READ  

Wimbledon 2015
Federer and Nadal brush aside Wimbledon heat
Switzerland's Roger Federer is seeking an eighth Wimbledon crown. Photo: AFP

Federer and Nadal brush aside Wimbledon heat

Seven-time champion Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 winner, raced into the Wimbledon second round Tuesday as the tournament sweltered in near record-breaking heat. READ  

Solar Impulse reaches quarter of way to Hawaii
Solar Impulse taking off from Nagoya. Photo: Jiji Press Japan/AFP

Solar Impulse reaches quarter of way to Hawaii

A Swiss solar-powered aircraft on a round-the-world flight was high above the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, over a quarter of the way to Hawaii after leaving Japan, the mission website showed. READ  

Geneva beer the world's most expensive: survey
Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Geneva beer the world's most expensive: survey

Just as Switzerland steels for a heatwave this week comes news that beer, a favourite beverage for slaking thirsts in hot times, is the most expensive in the world in the country’s second biggest city. READ  

Worst Swiss heatwave since 2003 anticipated
Bathers swimming in the Rhine River in Basel, expected to be one of the hottest places in the country. Photo: Basel Tourismus

Worst Swiss heatwave since 2003 anticipated

Switzerland is preparing for the most intense heatwave in almost 12 years with weather experts predicting high temperatures above 35C for the first eight to ten days of July. READ  

Wimbledon 2015
Wawrinka advances after Sousa win in three sets
Wawrinka my be fourth-ranked but doesn't seem himself among 'Big Four'. Photo: AFP/File

Wawrinka advances after Sousa win in three sets

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka reached the Wimbledon second round on Monday after a 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) win over Portugal's Joao Sousa. READ  

Lucerne school prof sets himself on fire and dies
Landsberg campus of KV school. Photo: KV

Lucerne school prof sets himself on fire and dies

A 56-year-old man who used to teach at a vocational training school in the canton of Lucerne is suspected of committing suicide by setting fire to himself in the school early on Monday, police said. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Greek finance minister slams Swiss over lack of tax evasion info
Business & Money
Insects proposed for sale in Swiss supermarkets next year
Sponsored Article
Geneva's revolutionary marketing education
National
'Oh God — I'm coming': noisy lovers' complaint goes public
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
Sponsored Article
Swiss chocolate with a story: Blondel
National
Just in case: Swiss National Bank prepares for Grexit 'crisis'
National
Russian crisis fuelled by sanctions threaten 40,000 Swiss jobs: study
National
Art Basel: Art for art's sake — or to make an investment?
National
New survey ranks Zurich Europe's priciest city for expatriates
National
Quarter of residents in Switzerland 'have multiple homes'
Features
Veggie lovers and 'flexitarians' challenge Swiss meat-eating habits
National
Forest officials struggle to save Switzerland's dying ash trees
Education
Historian finds ancient Egyptian papyrus texts in Basel uni library
National
Seven large Swiss employers back 'flexible work' charter
National
Basel police rescue of ducks forces closure of A2 motorway
National
Mother and daughter die as rain storms lash central Switzerland
Sport
'Stan the man' Wawrinka: French Open triumph 'completely crazy'
Culture
Expat's Zurich 'then and now' video shows how little the city has changed
National
Phoney Geneva police officers rob tourists and UN staff
Sport
Blatter's abrupt resignation seen as a 'stunning capitulation'
Features
Cleanup crews head to ski resorts to keep Swiss mountains tidy
Culture
Interlaken museum showcases works by Picasso using Caran d'Ache pencils
National
Low interest rates give tenants right to seek rent reductions in Switzerland
Sport
Switzerland's Blatter fends off critics to win fifth term as Fifa president
National
Agricultural researchers discover why Swiss cheese has holes
Culture
Swiss filmmaker returns home to shoot 'gender-fluid' film in Ticino
Features
Severed rope recalls Matterhorn's first ascent 150 years ago
National
Top Swiss court refuses to recognize child's two gay 'fathers'
National
Woman's scoop for Ticino online news site: 'I killed my husband'
National
Four Swiss bathing areas 'unfit' for swimmers: Euro environmental body
Technology
Scientists from Zurich university find craters beneath Lake Neuchâtel
National
Prince William in Switzerland backs fight to protect endangered species
National
Swiss Federal Railways rely on sheep to 'mow' grass alongside tracks
Sport
Switzerland to host 2020 international ice hockey tourney
Business & Money
I never learned German: departing Credit Suisse CEO's regret
Sport
International tennis museum in US showcases Federer hologram
National
Inequality greater than most Swiss think: opinion poll for unions
National
Shooting in Switzerland leaves five dead in domestic drama near Zurich
National
Swiss Federal Railways tackle taboo subject of suicide in bid to cut deaths
National
German expats in Switzerland face discrimination: report
Travel
High prices blunt Swiss tourism's cutting edge: World Economic Forum
Business & Money
Ticked off Rolex slaps Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on wrist
National
Shock and humour drive police safety video warning over 'inattention'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

4,406
jobs available