Are Cell Phones Killing the Bees?

Via Roger Wolsey
on May 11, 2011
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Scientists may have found the cause of the world’s sudden dwindling population of bees – and cell phones are to blame. Research conducted in Lausanne, Switzerland has shown that the signal from cell phones not only confuses bees, but also leads to their death. Over 83 experiments have yielded the same results. With virtually most of the population of the United States (and the rest of the world) owning cell phones, the impact has been greatly noticeable.

Led by researcher Daniel Favre, the alarming study found that bees reacted significantly to cell phones that were placed near or in hives in call-making mode. The bees sensed the signals transmitted when the phones rang, and emitted heavy buzzing noise during the calls.  The calls act as an instinctive warning to leave the hive, but the frequency confuses the bees, causing them to fly erratically, and then suddenly die! The study found that the bees’ buzzing noise increases ten times when a cell phone is ringing or making a call – aka when signals are being transmitted, but remained normal when not in use.

The signals cause the bees to become lost and disoriented, resulting in death.  The impact has already been felt the world over, as the population of bees in the U.S. and the U.K. has decreased by almost half in the last thirty years – which coincides with the popularization and acceptance of cell phones as a personal device.  Studies as far back as 2008 have found that bees are repelled by cell phone signals.

Bees are an integral and necessary part of our agricultural and ecological systems, producing honey, and more importantly pollinating our crops.  As it is unlikely that the world will learn to forgo the convenience of cell phones, it is unclear how catastrophic the impact of the loss of bees could become.

If this is for real, a sensible tact to take might be to outlaw cell phone booster towers in rural/farming areas. thoughts?  or is this perhaps a planted red herring by the pesticide/GMO industry?  discuss.


Wolsey is the author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity… but he doesn’t only write or post about religious or spiritual matters… wait, concern about our environment and for the welfare of bees and our food sources is a a religious and spiritual matter.


About Roger Wolsey

Roger Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” He came of age during the “Minneapolis sound” era and enjoyed seeing The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Husker Du, The Wallets, Trip Shakespeare, Prince, and Soul Asylum in concert—leading to strong musical influences to his theology. He earned his Masters of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and he currently serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at C.U. in Boulder, CO. He was married for ten years, divorced in 2005 and now co-parents a delightful 10-year old son. Roger loves live music, hosting house concerts, rock-climbing, yoga, centering prayer, trail-running with his dog Kingdom, dancing, camping, riding his motorcycle, blogging, and playing his trumpet in ska bands and music projects. He's recently written a book Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity


14 Responses to “Are Cell Phones Killing the Bees?”

  1. Roger Wolsey says:

    or is this perhaps a planted red herring by the pesticide/GMO industry? discuss.

  2. Roger Smith says:

    If anyone wants to read the original research on that (effect of cell phones on bees), here is a PDF of the paper by researcher Daniel Favre:

  3. Roger Wolsey says:

    thank you for that helpful contribution Roger!

  4. Roger Wolsey says:

    and another asserting a GMO connection,
    Chloë Frisella Kunst
    about a minute ago · Like

    … so, perhaps *both* things are contributing to the problem?

  5. Roger Wolsey says:

    Thank you for that feedback Joel. Here's a link that supports your position:

    I think we can all agree that whatever is going on with the bee populations around the world, we need to learn about it and do something about it.

  6. Roger Wolsey says:

    Joel, but notice all of the dissenting voices to that author's opinion (the comments to that article)… seems the jury is very much still out.

  7. AlliBarocas says:

    This article raises a lot of thoughts about human actions, our connection to the environment and the how affected we are by our environment. It's a really interesting point of discussion and we really need to think about our responsibility to the environment.

    There's just no way we can start pollinating all of our own crops without the help of honey bees without causing some other harm to our environment. really interesting subject and a terribly difficult question to answer

  8. Roger Wolsey says:

    an understandable response. I for one am still thinking the jury is very much out on this and that the main culprit is the increased use of pesticides and gmo, pesticide-ready crops.

  9. terri says:

    um.. .
    first read that…yeah, something is causing them to not make it back to the hive, and the colonies are collapsing. however, from that same article: "In many cases, scientists have found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared. Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi — a sign, experts say, that the insects' immune system may have collapsed."

    THAT is science, people. some unknown environmental TOXIN is at work here. cell phones? get serious. please. because this IS serious.

  10. Jamie says:

    ps= its about the bees – the link above -what's up with all the spam on elej lately?

  11. Jamie says:

    Hi Waylon and Bob – I posted a link above – just curious to know what happened to it? You've left the iphone spam however. Thanks, Jamie

  12. Linda Lewis says:

    Canada did research on cell phones and bees several years ago and found the same deadly result. When I told friends then, no one believed it.
    China is totally dependent upon cell phones and cell towers. (a potential political vulnerability?) There are many causes and conditions, but it is important not to ignore one of the causes!
    Here in Canada, because more and more folks have cell phones, pay phones are being removed!
    Einstein was one of the first to realize and say that the death of the bees would devastate the world's food supply. Thus we should not ignore any of the contributing causes that lead to their demise.

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