"Europeans for Safe Connections" call for better protection of bees against microwave radiation
"Europeans for Safe Connections" is a coalition of national and international organizations that are aware of adverse consequences of the modern communication technologies. We emphasize that we are not against technology, but in favour of safe technology and safe connections.
In our European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) "Stop (((5G))) – Stay Connected but Protected" we have 23 proposals regarding radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF). Among them we call for a new directive regarding RF EMF exposure limits for the protection of fauna and flora (proposal 10 of our ECI) and to include monitoring of all biological harmful parameters of RF EMF in Environmental monitoring programmes, Biodiversity Strategy 2030, EU Nature restoration targets, Habitats and Birds Directives and Natura 2000 (proposal 16 of our ECI).
Nowadays there are many studies that prove RF EMF to be unsafe. Since even the latest fifth generation (5G) mobile data networks has not been tested on health and environmental impacts before being put on the market, the deployment of 5G constitutes as a matter of fact an experiment on humanity and the environment.
In our ECI and other articles we address many other issues. In this article only one of them is discussed.
How it all began
Nature is full of electromagnetic radiation that comes to Earth from space (including the Sun), or naturally arises on Earth. Only a very small amount of cosmic radiation contains components of radiofrequency spectrum. Also, there are not many natural sources of radiofrequency radiation on Earth.
The Sun emits radiation across most of the electromagnetic spectrum: X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, and radio waves. The total amount of energy received by the Earth at ground level from the Sun at the zenith is approximately 1000 W/m2, which is composed of approximately 53% infrared, 44% visible light, 3% ultraviolet, and a tiny fraction of radio waves. The total power density of RF EMF arising from the sky and the sun as 0.003 mW/m2 at the surface of the Earth (IARC, Non-ionizing Radiation, PDF document page 42).
Since the introduction of radio, the Earth is more and more exposed to artificial radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF).
In the EU maximum exposure limits for public were accepted in 1999 by Recommendation 1999/519/EC to 10,000 mW/m2 for frequencies 2 – 300 GHz.
Insect and wireless
Biodiversity is declining. 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction worldwide. More than 75% decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas must be caused by pollutants other than those already measured. RF EMF is a strong candidate:
Mealworm beetle (Tenebrio molitor) – when pupaes irradiated with 10GHz frequency, 25% died and 51% developed abnormally. (published in The IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques which focuses on engineering and theory associated with microwave/millimeter-waves)
Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) – when exposed to 900 MHz frequency for 6 min per day during the first 2–5 days of their adult lives, the reproductive capacity decreased by 50%–60%. (published in the Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine which publishes peer-reviewed research articles on the biological effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields).
Ant (Myrmica sabuleti and Myrmica ruginodis) – when exposed to cell phone radiation, the adult ants displayed obvious behavioral disorders, with more disruption in their daily activities and an increasingly scanning of their local environment. It was clear that something concerned them. (published in the Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine)
Apis mellifera and wireless
Bees (Apis mellifera) worldwide have been involved in a disappearing act called “colony collapse disorder” (Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees), with little sign of the disease or infestations that have resulted in massive loss of colonies in the past. The bees simply leave the hives and fail to return. Beekeepers and scientists alike are stymied as to the cause of this strange phenomenon.
One likely culprit is a new class of systemic pesticides, which are not only sprayed on crops, but also used universally to dress seeds in conventional agriculture, and can confuse and disorientate bees at very low concentrations (Requiem for the Honeybee). Another candidate is radiation from mobile phone base stations.
Already back in 2007, a biochemistry scientist Dr. Mae-Wan Ho was worried: "The recent boom in third generation mobile phones may be the main culprit for colony collapse disorder in honeybees."
Simple experiment with dramatic results
Researchers at Landau University in Germany designed a simple experiment for students on the Environmental Science course. Eight mini-hives, each with approximately 8 000 bees were set up for the experiment. Four of them were equipped with a DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication) station at the bottom of the hive, and the other four without the DECT station served as controls.
At the entrance of each hive, a transparent plastic tube enabled the experimenters to watch the marked bees entering and leaving the hive, so they can be counted and their time of return after release recorded for a period of 45 minutes. In control group, 16 out of 25 bees returned in 45 minutes. For microwave-exposed hives, however, no bees at all returned to one hive, and only six returned to the other.
The experimenters also studied building behaviour by measuring the area of the honeycomb and its weight. The controls weighed 1 326g, while those exposed to the DECT-stations weighed only 1 045g, a difference of 21 percent.
DECT-station is a simple cordless phone base using frequency 1 900 MHz. The average power is 10 mW, with a peak of 250 mW.
To bee, or not to bee
Olle Johansson is a scientist, who is not here to promote convenience or economic growth, but only “to serve and protect” human health, as well as to directly protect other animals, plants, and bacteria. In his article To bee, or not to bee, that is the five “G” question he is asking: "Will it end with a thousand 'G' for a few, but with no bee for the rest of us?"
Other scientists in renowned studies share his worries.
Arno Thielens, in his study Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz | Scientific Reports (nature.com) created 3D models to simulate the absortion of RF electromagnetic power in four different type of insects. The dialectric parameters were considered. All insect showed a general increase in absorbed RF power at and above 6 GHz, in comparison to the absorbed RF power below 6 GHz (5G uses frequencies up to 120 GHz). The insects show a maximum in absorbed radio frequency power at wavelenghts that are comparable to their body size. This could lead to changes in insect behaviour, physiology and morphology over time due to an increase in body temperatures.
Insects is an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal of entomology. In 2021 they published a study entitled “Combined Effects of Pesticides and Electromagnetic-Fields on Honeybees: Multi-Stress Exposure”. Results showed that bee health conditions were the worst in the multi-stress site with only one colony alive out of the four ones present at the beginning. In this site, a complex picture of adverse effects was observed, such as disease appearance (American foulbrood), higher mortality in the underbaskets (common to pesticide-stress site), behavioral alterations (queen changes, excess of honey storage) and biochemical anomalies (higher ALP activity at the end of the season). The overall results clearly indicate that the multi-stress conditions were able to induce biochemical, physiological and behavioral alterations which severely threatened bee colony survival.
Animals is an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal devoted entirely to animals, including zoology and veterinary sciences. In 2021 they published a study entitled "Honey Bee Proteolytic System and Behavior Parameters under the Influence of an Electric Field at 50 Hz and Variable Intensities for a Long Exposure Time". Newly emerged worker bees were put into cages and exposed to a 50 Hz frequency. After 12 h of exposure, bees in the experimental groups showed a lower number of occurrences of walking, self-grooming, and contacts between individuals than the control bees.
The Journal of Applied Entomology publishes original articles on current research in applied entomology, including mites, spiders, and myriapods. In 2009 a study was published there named "Metabolism of bees (Apis mellifica L.) in 50 Hz high-tension field". Caged beegroups under 50 Hz high-voltage AC-field show increase of the metabolic rate and under high field strength the bees are cause to sting one another..
Bees as indicator species for electromagnetic pollution
Bees are known to be extremely sensitive to magnetic and electromagnetic fields, and there have been many suggestions that they could be used as an indicator species for electromagnetic pollution.
Experiments dating well back to the last century have documented the phenomenal sensitivity of honeybees to electromagnetic fields. Bees use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate. Free-flying honeybees are able to detect static intensity fluctuations as weak as 26 nT against the background earth-strength magnetic field (average 500 mT) (Walker&Bitterman, Honeybees can be Trained to Respond to very Small Changes in Geomagnetic Field Intensity). This has been demonstrated in experiments where individual honeybees have been trained to discriminate between the presence and the absence of a small static magnetic anomaly in the lab.
The Journal of Experimental Biology is the leading primary research journal in comparative physiology. In 1996 they published a study named "Magnetic compass cues and visual pattern learning in honeybees" where they demonstrated that honeybees can learn to distinguish between two 360o panoramic patterns that are identical except for the compass orientation. In this case, the difference was a 90o rotation about the vertical axis. The most powerful cue to direction for the honeybee comes from the sky, but discrimination between patterns is possible in the absence of celestial information, as when the sky is overcast. Under those conditions, bees can use a magnetic direction to discriminate between patterns.
The bees’ waggle dance on the honeycomb, which tells hive mates where to find food, can also be misdirected by artificial RF EMF. The Journal of Comparative Physiology A is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering the intersection of ethology, neuroscience, and physiology. In 1998 they published a study named "Bursts of magnetic fields induce jumps of misdirection in bees by a mechanism of magnetic resonance". The study shows that very weak pulsed magnetic field at about 250 MHz frequency induces unequivocal ‘jumps’ of misdirection of up to +10°.
Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation is a form of environmental pollution which may hurt insects. Phone masts located in their living areas are irradiating continuously some species that could suffer long-term effects, like reduction of their natural defenses, deterioration of their health, problems in reproduction and reduction of their useful territory. Therefore microwave and radiofrequency pollution constitutes a potential cause for the decline of insect populations.
The mystery of disappearing honeybees is far from solved. The greatest suspects so far are pesticides and radiation from mobile phone base stations.
As 5G will increase non-ionizing radiation exposures and as 5G uses new higher frequencies shown to be highly absorbed into insects, scientists are calling for a moratorium on 5G, to protect wildlife as well as human health.
We are very happy that the ECI "Save Bees and Farmers !" was successful and gained over a million signatures from EU citizens. They call to phase-out synthetic pesticides from EU agriculture by 2035 latest.
On the other hand, in our ECI "Stop (((5G))) – Stay Connected but Protected" we are calling for stronger regulation to protect all life from radio frequency and microwave radiation. In this article attention was given to proposal 10 and proposal 16 of our ECI.
"proposal 10: On the basis of the precautionary principle, enact a directive regarding RF EMF exposure limits for protection of fauna and flora."
"proposal 16: Include monitoring of all biological harmful parameters of RF EMF in Environmental monitoring programmes, Biodiversity Strategy 2030, EU Nature restoration targets, Habitats and Birds Directives and Natura 2000."
And we are not alone.
- The Legal Opinion on 5G by the lawyer Christian F. Jensen concludes that 5G deployment will contravene current environmental laws (Habitat- and Bird- directive) in the EU regulations and the Bern- and Bonn- conventions protecting natural habitat and migrating species.
- As pointed out many times, and most recently by Dr. Vibeke Frøkjær Jensen in her elegant address to members of the Danish Parliament, at “The 5G Conference” on the 4th of May, 2019, in Christiansborg in Copenhagen, the current and previous roll-outs of blanketing telecom systems may stand in opposition to The Aarhus Convention, The Habitat and Bird Directives, The Biodiversity Convention, The Bonn Convention, The Bern Convention, and The Precautionary Principle.
- Czech Associate Professor Vladimír Ptáček in his letter to the Czech Parliament is asking for precaution. Scientists have no interest in hindering progress. Instead, those who have the ability to notice what is happening around them will detect and demonstrate the negative effects of radiation on birds and bees.
- EU offers democratic platform to us citizens. "This platform is the hub of the Conference on the Future of Europe. This is your opportunity to speak up, to say what kind of Europe you want to live in, to help shape our future."
A citizen Filip Filipov is asking to ban 5G:
- The competence initiative for the protection of people, the environment and democracy e. V. is an international, interdisciplinary and non-partisan professional association, especially of scientists, doctors, lawyers and technicians. It is committed to contemporary health and environmental protection, especially in the field of mobile and communications radio. The competence initiative was recognized by the Goethe Foundation Basel in 2009 for its international environmental commitment.
With its publications and conferences, it offers support to the findings of independent research and science. Among many publications we can find Bees, Birds and Humans; The Destruction of Nature by 'Electrosmog'
Petra Bertová is a member of the team behind the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) "Stop (((5G))) – Stay Connected but Protected"
Petra from Slovakia previously worked for an IT company and also in the education sector.
This article was attached to the feedback to European Commision's EU pollinators initiative.