Cell Phone and bees
by Jan TenBruggencate
I am a beekeeper and I also sit on the board of KIUC. When anti-smart meter sites began trumpeting reports that smart meters kill bees, I was concerned. I did the research. The short version: This statement is false.
There is no evidence I could find that smart meters kill or cause any harm at all to bees, and no evidence that even stronger household sources of radiofrequency harm bees. What the research does say is that if you take a powerful source of RF radiation (like one or even more cell phones or cordless telephones) and if you actually place it inside a bee hive, it perturbs the bees. But if you reduce the power by half with shielding, according to a German study, then there is no detectable sign of bee anxiety or altered behavior.
I work my bees with my cell phone on my hip, and I detect no change in bee behavior. I know other Kaua`i beekeepers who also handle their bee hives with their cell phones nearby.
I went so far as to place two different live cell phones at the entrances to two different hives in the Lihue area. As far as I could tell, the bees did not behave differently. They continued coming and going, departing to forage, and returning with pollen and nectar. When I put a little honey on the face of an active Motorola Atrix cellphone, the bees ate the honey right off the glass.
None of the studies I looked at suggests that smart meters, or even the more powerful cell phones, kill bees. They do say that bees exhibit specific stress reactions to strong radiofrequency signals placed inside their hives. The stress reactions researchers found include “piping,” which are sounds that indicate unrest. And one study detected a small but statistically significant reduction in timely returns to the hive by foraging bees.