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Yorks bee-keepers on high alert

[Thursday 19 April 2007]
bumble bee
No so busy: the bumble bee
Photo: Dave Goulson -
Bumblebee Conservation Trust

NORTH Yorkshire bee-keepers, whose hives produce some of the most sought after honey in Britain, are facing a summer of high anxiety because of world-wide threats to bee colonies.

The heather honey produced in parts of the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors is widely sought after by honey connoisseurs - it is said you can actually taste the heather blossom - but in recent years, there have been several outbreaks of fungal diseases often associated with wet weather.

But this spring, a new potential threat has loomed after some unusual research in America which suggests that electro-magnetic waves from mobile phones can cause catastrophic disaster for some bee colonies.

This is known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in which bees abandon their hives and just disappear for reasons as yet unknown.

But research at Landau University in America has pointed a finger of blame at mobile phone systems because their electromagnetic waves can interfere with a bee's delicate navigation system.

Tests have shown that as many of 70% of bees exposed to this radiation fail to navigate their way back to their nests or hives when out on long and often complex nectar gathering sorties.

Bumble bees need your help according to researchers - see a week in country for details of how to register sightings.

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