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EMF Studies

13 June 2014

Austria: Risk of Electrosmog: A Killer of Bees?

Reinhard Mayrhofer, master beekeeper in Bischofshofen:
his own bee colonies would be directly affected by the
380-kV line.  In the environmental impact assessment trial,
he voiced his concerns. Photo: private / SF-Archives
Risk of electrosmog at 380 kV power line: A killer of bees?
by Sabine Chaly, salzburger-fenster.at, 
10 June 2014 (translated by Google and the Editor of this blog)

Affected by the 380-kV line, beekeeper warns bees lose their sense of direction.

Bees have a very strong sense of direction - Bees are irritated, they cannot find their way home to their hives. And that's when the electromagnetic fields come in, as has been clearly confirmed by investigations: electrosmog from power lines and cell phone towers interferes with the sense of bees and increases bee deaths. 

Beekeepers warn that electrosmog from the proposed 380-kV transmission line kills bees. Master beekeeper Reinhard Mayrhofer from Bischofshofen, whose hives are located very close to the 380-kV line, voiced his fears in the EIA [environmental impact assessment] procedure. The experts listened to Mayrhofer's objections but hardly voiced any opinion and the concerns of the Salzburger Land Beekeepers Association did not interest them. The beekeeper is outraged.

Electrosmog: "Bees can no longer find their way home"

Electromagnetic fields have detrimental effects on bees: When flying, they lose their orientation, pollination is limited, sources of food for humans and animals are at risk.

Bees have a very sensitive sense of direction. In searching for food, they will fly as far as three kilometers, and then back again with apparent ease to their hive. Artificially generated electromagnetic fields disturb the orientation of bees. Experts say the 380-kV transmission line would affect bees, but they refer only to a corridor of 50 meters left and right along the line, criticizes the Bischofshofen master beekeeper Reinhard Mayrhofer.

Bees would have to cross the power line

This is much too limited, says Mayrhofer. "Bees fly for miles to visit flowers and plants. Power line crossings are therefore very likely, "said the beekeeper. His own bee colonies in Bischofshofen would be directly affected, "they would have to cross the high-voltage line constantly, both in search of food as well as during the mating flight of queens."

Mating flights in danger

It is mainly this, still not completely explored issue that worries the beekeepers. The mating flight makes very high demands on the queens and male bees, the drones. Mayrhofer: "Artificial electromagnetic fields affect the local orientation of bees not only on their way to mating, but also the timing." That means queens and drones miss each other.  Mating in the air is either restricted or doesn’t take place. The queens can no longer provide enough young in the hive.

No pollination - less food

Mayrhofer fears for his livelihood as a professional beekeeper and for the survival of bees along the proposed power line. Bee deaths would mean that area-wide pollination is no longer guaranteed. Then, there would be a lack of crops for humans and wild plants for animals. Beekeeper associations believe that around three-quarters of domestic livestock and wild plants are dependent on honey bees as pollinators. It is the beekeeper's view that not only bees, but also important livelihoods might be endangered by the proposed 380-kV transmission line.

Sabine Chaly

Original article in German:

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