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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bee My Honey - Just Don't Call On The Cell Phone

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Honey Bee Keeper and HivesStogie at Ybor City Stogie has rightly reminded me that I have been reticent investing enough effort into my non-profitable distraction of blogging on current events. Thus, I am obligated to take a few moments from carousing, watching Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, pretending to work, and hunting for the elusive woman of my dreams before I die in order to bring you this shocking scientific hypothesis which has the potential to negatively affect every living thing on the planet.

Yes, it's time to again address those pesky cell phones - the modern technical era scourge of humanity that vexatiously interrupts dinner dates, contributes to untold automobile traffic accidents, inflicts brain cancer, and apparently disrupts the lifestyles of the major pollinators of our food crops. It's not bad enough that one can hardly maintain a personal conversation with another human being without being interrupted by ring tones vaguely resembling a bastardized version of Evanescence or being run down on the freeway by some dizzy blond trophy wife weaving in and out of traffic in her three ton SUV while arguing with her office bound meal-ticket, but now they are suspected of causing Colony Collapse Disorder within bee hives worldwide through their ubiquitous emissions of electromagnetic radiation.

European Honey Bee Pollinating a Blueberry BlossomNeed I remind anyone that should this prove to be an accurate explanation for the disappearance of millions of bees in this country, primarily occurring on the more densely populated East and West coasts, the impact goes far beyond the more obvious financial losses of an overzealous, highly profitable, yet seemingly pointless communications industry. This could well effect food production worldwide, resulting in the deaths of millions. For countries who depend on agriculture for their already meager existence, this would result in total chaos. While corn and wheat are wind pollinated and would remain unaffected in the beginning, they are lacking in nutritional value and are hardly a suitable staple sans fresh vegetable and fruit supplements. Worldwide afflictions of scurvy anyone?
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.

The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
Are Mobile Phones Wiping Out Our Bees? - The Independent UK


Blogger pissed off patricia said...

This is a very interesting story and I have been following it. Happily I can report that my back yard if full of honey bees as they enjoy the blooms on our sea grape bushes.

Tue Apr 17, 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Know said...

I have to admit, quite obviously, to harboring an intense dislike of cell phones; which is especially odd considering I made a living for many years in the electronics industry before everything was of Chinese origin and disposable. And don't even get me started on that particular topic...

But regarding the bees, we live in a metro city area literally awash with EM radiation resulting from the pointless yammerings of the great hordes who seem to be growing ever dumber and more dangerous due to the lack of attention span and independent thought. I have yet to see a honey bee this year although we still have many carpenter bees - even more than usual - and they do seem to assist in pollinating many of our flowering plants. But they also chew tunnels for their eggs into every piece of exposed wood available, including the house and deck, which makes them less than endearing. At least they don't sting - I hope - as they chase with great zeal anything that moves within their domain.

Tue Apr 17, 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger LauraHinNJ said...

Those menacing carpenter bees are just the drones - no worries - I don't think they even have stingers. Bit they do like to challenge and investigate everything in their air space.

I hadn't heard of cell phones being linked to the problems with honey bees. Will have to look into that and see if there isn't some way to get the bees to turn on and attack arrogant cell phone users - wouldn't that be fun?


Thu Apr 19, 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Know said...

Yes, Laura, it would be amusing - for me anyway. Unfortunately I do not believe they are able to determine the origin of the emissions, only that it disrupts their ability to navigate - at least according to the report's hypothesis.

As for the carpenter bees, I realize they do not sting, but when you are standing on a 20 inch platform, 35 feet in the air, juggling a 12 foot plank of concrete siding, their aggressive strafing runs are rather... uh... disconcerting. ;-) We also have a variety of wasps in abundance, and you're never quite sure which is attacking you until visual contact is made. And since they both love to build their residences in the crannies of human structures, they are both quite prevelant.

At least I get a good view of the abundant wildlife from that elevated vantage point. Not long ago, I witnessed a cicada being attacked by a hunter wasp. It let out a very loud buzz, and fell to the ground. I tried to rescue the cicada, but it died within seconds of the sting. It ended up in my entomology collection instead.

Ah, life in the foodchain...

Sat Apr 21, 02:08:00 AM  

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