Re: [beemonitoring] interesting article
- If you look carefully at the paper, the *conclusion* is nonsense.
Allow me to paraphrase a recent message I posted elsewhere -
Favre's work is about the worst I've ever seen published in
Apidologie, and the reviewers and editors should be embarrassed by
having it in print. That it has attracted such media atention is
appalling, and makes me truly, truly sad for the state of science.
For those of you who have not read the original paper, I can sum it
up very easily:
(1) Favre stuck an active cell phone inside some beehives, and an
inactive phone inside some others as a control.
(2) the bees made noises (piping) that suggested that an active cell
phone inside the hive disturbed them, but an inactive phone did not.
(3) Therefore, cell phones cause colony collapse disorder.
This is not science. Up until point #2 it is fine, but the MONSTROUS
leap from point #2 to point #3 is akin to blaming global warming on
the decreased number of buccaneers. It doesn't help that the major
citation Favre uses to back up his conclusion is an internet link to
a newspaper report from India of an unpublished, unreplicated "study"
that was based on a sample size of one colony. There is no credible
evidence here (or anywhere else) to show that honey bee colonies die
- more than expected by chance - in the presence of cell phone
emissions. Favre *supposes* (without one concrete observation to back
it up) that worker piping will cause unexpected swarming and colony
losses - and this is not even *marginally* consistent with the
symptomology of CCD. Of course, he has no evidence to show that these
effects occur when a cell phone is, say, even 5 meters from a hive,
and anyone familiar with the incredibly fast dropoff of power of
emission with distance would realize that the experiment was
conducted in an entirely inappropriate manner - a "straw man". I'll
bet if I stuck a chain saw inside a hive while it was running, that
would also disturb them - does that mean chain saws cause CCD?
There *is* credible evidence that CCD is caused by a combination of
viruses and fungi, opportunistically wiping out infected honey bee
colonies that are put under stress. There is still *no* credible
evidence that cell phones, pesticides, or genetically modified crops
have anything to do with CCD, especially when you consider that CCD
dates back to 1869 - as was even pointed out in the exact same paper
that *coined* the name Colony Collapse Disorder, back in 2007. No one
should assume that cell phone emissions, pesticides, and GMO crops
have *no effect* on honey bees - but there is no evidence yet that
links these things specifically to CCD, as Favre attempts to do.
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82