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back to article Mobiles back in the frame as bee killers

Strapping a pair of mobile phones to the side of a bee hive can lead to a dramatic decline in honey and bee production, researchers have claimed. Published in Current Science, the research (pdf) compared the performance of hives exposed to cell phones with those kept radio-free. According to the researchers the phone use led …

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WTF?

The solution is obvious...

Stop strapping mobile phones to bee hives!!!

Can I now have a £10M grant to test this theory, please?

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Perhaps the bees didn't like the ringtones.

The controls either had dummy phones or no phones. A timer controlled noise-maker would have been better.

Bee #1 " Fuck me. It's that funny noise again!"

Bee #2 "I know. It went of this morning when I left the hive, and I forgot what I went out to get."

Bee #3 "If it doesn't stop soon, I'm going on strike."

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Controls

The controls were - as far as can be told from the text - awful. Plus sample size is pitiful. It makes a L'Oreal advert seem statistically valid.

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Does Ofcom know?

No wonder the bees were distressed if they have been getting silent calls every fifteen minutes.

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Coat

bees appeared "confused as if unable to decide what to do" during the calls

Does this not exactly mirror the effect of mobile phone calls on humans?

The one with the hat, net, and gloves in the pocket, if you'd be so kind?

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Flame

recognising fraudulent research

Also worth reading http://www.newscientist.com/special/living-in-denial to get a feel for how to recognise bad or deliberately deceptive 'research'. In this case it sure looks like there are ties to the wider world of alarmist denialism.

I'd really appreciate it if TheReg added a MASSIVE link to that page on every Orlowski post, the man that demonstrated the link between SCO's fraudulent Linux lawsuit and Global Warming ;)

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Gold badge

Add this to the list

In my opinion every human being alive should read this article:

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/05/when-science-clashes-with-belief-make-science-impotent.ars

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Joke

wel of course it did

instead of making honey, the bees were too busy giving each other a buzz!

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FAIL

Vibrate

Maybe the phones were set to vibrate, so every time a call came in the entire hive thought it was under attack from a pair of giant enemy bees.

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So what.

I keep bees and have had as many as eight hives. Any beek will tell you that the performance of hives can vary widely depending on he origin and age of the queen. Last years duff hive can be next years front runner.

It's not clear if the hives had fresh queens from the same source or not, but even then, it's unlikely that the queens would be genetically identical...

An interesting experiment, but really, you'd have to use a lot more hives before it was significant.

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RE: So what.

I guess given their tiny sample size it would have been worth swapping the phones between hives then monitoring for a change

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FAIL

Amazing study

... if you're fascinated with abandoning any desire to follow scientific method.

If you actually want to prove anything here you'd need to get either a vast number of hives, some with no phones, some with duds, some that play the ringtones but output no EM, and some with various phones strapped to them. Especially with bees, comparing a couple of hives and then extrapolating that is madness - there's so many factors that could go on here, one being the question of whether the researchers were disturbing the hives whilst looking at what happened when the phone rang & whether they were disturbing the controls at the same times and another just the sheer variability of conditions outdoors.

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Alert

They've gone already.

By the time that the powers that be finally get round to spending the money to do proper research, and the scientists actually find the problem, the bees will have long gone, alas.

I did not see a single honey bee last year, and have not seen one this year either. Natural hives in the area (near Edinburgh) have gone, and my father's six hives have all died too.

Too little, far too late. We blew it. Welcome to the end days.

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Badgers

Bees Live in London

OK, I accept that., but homeless people live in London too. Neither are very productive.

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Coat

I read the first line of the article...

... as "Strapping a pair of mobile phones to the side of a bee" and thought "well, duh!" ;-)

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Boffin

Rubbish experiments do not prove much.

As Steve Crook has pointed out, it is a basic truth of beekeeping that two hives side by side behave totally differently.

Most Queens mate with 10 plus random drones, 30 feet up in the air, miles away from the hives ( Whee!). So their genetics are always different and always unknown unless you do some weird Instrumental Insemination.

To do a decent piece of science on bees you need a very large sample and a lot of data.

I like bees and keep a number of hives, but doing research on them is not easy.

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Alert

"a pair of mobile phones "

No wonder the bees were "confused as if unable to decide what to do". They wouldn't have known which of the pair to answer.

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Boffin

Killer bees will fix it.

It ok the boffins in bangor are attempting to breed a new strain of killer bee:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid_wales/10185295.stm

Because crossing africanisation of bees worked so well in south america. :)

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Anonymous Coward

No wonder....

....they probably thought it was a call from their Unite representative telling them to go on strike.

It doesn't actually state in the pdf whether the phones were on silent, vibrate or normal ringtone (or a combination of ringtone and vibrate) but I know that when peoples mobile phones keep ringing around me it makes it much harder to concentrate on what I am doing because of the noise.

I'm not suggesting that it's impossible for mobiles to adversely affect bees but this study has about as much scientific impact as a fart in a hurricane.

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FAIL

So ...

... these people seem to be saying that bees are susceptible to the radio part of the EM spectrum. The radio waves that are there regardless of whether they are being received by - in this case - mobile phones in the vicinity? Or only those produced when the phone transmits, which couldn't affect the bees if the phones weren't strapped to the hives because of the inverse square rule?

Without knowing what hives do when strange noises happen close to the hive, this is pointless. As far as I am aware (though I may have missed something somewhere), there is no evidence that any organism has the ability to detect, or be affected by, waves in the radio part of the spectrum. If this research was done properly and came up with a correlation between radio waves and bee activity, it might lead to genuinely interesting and important insights. However, as I've said before on this forum in respect of other anti-tech propaganda, exceptional claims demand exceptional proof, and I'm just not seeing it here.

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Boffin

First?

To the patent office with a faraday cage bee-hive?

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