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Issue 17
September , 2009
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Mobile towers threatening honey bees in Kerala: Study

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, Date: September , 2009

Mobile towers are posing a threat to honey bees in Kerala with electromagnetic radiation from mobile towers and cell phones having the potential to kill worker bees that go out to collect nectar from flowers, says a study. A plunge in beehive population has been reported from different parts of Kerala and if measures are not taken to check mushrooming of mobile powers, bees could be wiped out from Kerala within a decade, environmentalist and Reader in Zoology, Dr Sainudeen Pattazhy says in his study. In one of his experiments he found that when a mobile phone was kept near a beehive it resulted in collapse of the colony in five to 10 days, with the worker bees failing to return home, leaving the hives with just queens, eggs and hive-bound immature bees. Recently a sharp decline has been noticed in commercial bee population in Kerala. The official explanation has been that this happens as bees are susceptible to diseases and fall prey to attacks by wasps, ants, and wax moth and that constant vigilance on the part of the bee keepers can check it. The farmers have also complained that introduction of exotic varieties of bees to promote apiculture have also done harm as they are unsuitable to climatic conditions of the area. In Kerala there are about six
lakh bee hives and 1 to 1.25 lakh people are engaged in apiculture, mostly as an allied activity. A single hive can yield four to five kg of honey.

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