Bees VS. Cells

by Liz Wolff, SUNY Cortland, June 27, 2007

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online.jpgRecently there has been a lot of talk about disappearing bees. Beekeepers in the U.S., Canada, and Britain have reported an astonishing decline in honeybees within the last several months. Vanishing bees are bad news for humans. If this trend continues, it will cause a devastating ripple effect. No more bees means no pollen, no plants, and no food for animals and humans alike. And if you think we can just figure out how to pollinate on our own, we can’t. Bee pollination cannot exactly be duplicated. More than anything, it’s the sheer multitude of work that bees do for us to which we cannot compare. Try pollinating every flower on earth by hand; that’s one daunting task that we should leave to the bees.

But what exactly is causing these insects to disappear? Depending on who you talk to, you may hear a few different theories. One of the most bizarre notions is that cell phones have something to do with this disappearing bee phenomenon, called Colony Collapse Disorder. Yes, your pink RAZR could be the catalyst for the demise of the human race. It seems a little farfetched, but here is what we do know: studies have shown that electromagnetic cell phone waves disrupt the bees’ natural navigation system. This would ultimately leave the worker bees in a daze come time to find their way back to the hive. The question is: if cell phones do, in fact, affect bees in this way, then why hasn’t the bee population been steadily declining since the dawn of cell phones? Scientists have yet to respond.

Maybe this is all just speculation and myth. Maybe your pink RAZR is as harmless as its Backstreet Boys ring tone. An article from the Los Angeles Times claims to have found the possible reason for Colony Collapse Disorder. A fungus that killed off massive numbers of bees in Europe and Asia has been found in many of the bees in the U.S., but scientists refuse to lay the blame on this fungus alone. They think there might be other factors coming into play such as pesticides or drought (Chong, Maugh).

If these other circumstances are causing the bee decline, then we can rejoice that we don’t have to discard our precious cellular technology. But would we ever give it up? Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” sums it up best. “If it comes down to the cell phone vs. the bee, will we choose to literally blather ourselves to death? Will we continue to tell ourselves that we don't have to solve environmental problems -- we can just adapt: build sea walls instead of stopping the ice caps from melting (Maher)? Even when we do know the facts, will we acknowledge them and try to change our ways? There has always been talk about the link between cell phones and brain cancer, but has that made any of us think twice? Are we so dependent on technology that we will turn a blind eye on our own health? If we aren’t concerned about ourselves, we won’t be concerned about the bees.

Let’s hope it’s not our phones that are causing Colony Collapse Disorder. It could very well be something else, but maybe next time you are using a cell phone, you will think about just how far you would go to keep that technology in your life. Would you let anything come between you and your next phone call?

Sources:
Chong, Jia-Rui and Maugh II, Thomas H. 26 Apr 2007. Los Angeles Times. 8 May 2007.
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Maher, Bill. 20 Apr. 2007. The Huffington Post. 8 May 2007

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