Malnutrition/Nutritional deficienciesóMany beekeepers place the hives near fields of identical crops, which may result in malnutrition as the bees are only getting one type of nectar. This possibility is discussed in the PBS video, “Silence of the Bees.” Essentially, this theory is identical to that of human nutrition; we need a wide variety of nutrients from different foods. If you keep eating the same limited range of foods, you can easily end up suffering from nutritional deficiencies.
Poor nutrition suppresses immune function, making the bees far more susceptible to toxins from pesticides, viruses, fungi, or a combination of factors that ultimately kill them.
Viruses and fungióThere’s also the possibility that some new form of “AIDS-like” viral infection is affecting the bees. In one 2010 study published in PLoS, researchers claim CCD is due to “a fungus tag-teaming with a virus.” However, the study was found to be heavily tainted by financial conflicts of interest.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, had received a significant research grant from Bayer Crop Science to study bee pollination. Even more suspicious is the timing of the grant. Bromenshenk was reportedly all set to serve as an expert witness in 2003 for beekeepers involved in a class-action lawsuit against Bayer. He dropped out without explanation, however, and subsequently received the grant from Bayer.
Bromenshenk also owns Bee Alert Technology, a company that is developing hand-held scanners designed to detect bee ailments. His company would therefore profit nicely if a disease, such as a virus, was found to be causing CCD rather than a pesticide. So, all in all, his study, which suggests a virus/fungus combination is killing off bees is by no means the final word on the subject. Then again, it may very well play a role in combination with malnutrition causing reduced immune function.
The Cell Phone Connection: Are EMFs Causing Bee Colonies to Collapse?
It’s also hard to ignore research that points to cell phones and electromagnetic fields (EMF) as major threats to the bee population. †Researchers have discovered that when a cellular phone is placed near a hive, the radiation generated by†it (900-1,800 MHz) is enough to prevent bees from returning to them, according to a study conducted at Landau University several years ago.
This result was duplicated in 2009 by Sainuddeen Pattazhy, a researcher and dean in the department of zoology at SN College, Punalur, Kerala. His experiments showed that microwaves from mobile phones appear to interfere with worker bees’ navigation skills. When cell phones were placed near beehives, the hives collapsed completely in five to 10 days. The worker bees simply failed to return home…
Adding to the mystery, parasites, wildlife and other bees, which would normally raid the abandoned hives, would not go near the collapsed colonies. Pattazhy said in The Pioneer:
“The navigation skill of the worker bees is dependent on the earth’s magnetic properties. The electro-magnetic waves emitted by the mobile phones and relay towers interfere with the earth’s magnetism, resulting in loss of the navigation capacity of the bee. Then it fails to come back.††So, the radiation causes damage to the nervous system of the bee and it becomes unable to fly.”
More recently, a study published earlier this summer found that the presence of microwaves from cell phones have a dramatic effect on bees, causing them to become quite disturbed. So, cell phones and related wireless technologies appear to be another likely threat to bees around the globe, and there may be a cumulative effect going on that is making it more and more difficult for bees to survive, let alone thrive.