Important new study on bees:
More than 80 sound recordings were taken from 5 different hives during February through June 2009. A cell phone was place in the hives near the bees. When the cell phone was off, or on standby mode, the bees were not disturbed. When the cell phone was turned on, the effect was dramatic: within 25 to 40 minutes the sounds made by the bees increased in intensity and frequency, producing the “worker piping signal.” If the cell phone was turned off immediately, the bees calmed down within 2 or 3 minutes. If the cell phone was left on for 20 hours and then turned off, the piping signal continued for up to 12 hours more. The effect was consistent and repeatable.
Worker piping is usually produced by bees preparing to leave the hive in a swarm.
The author refers to another study recently done in India. In that study, when a mobile phone was kept continuously on near a beehive it resulted in collapse of the colony in 5 to 10 days, with the worker bees failing to return home.
Ved Parkash Sharma and Neelima R. Kumar.