The Effect of Cell Phone Radiations on the Life Cycle
Nashaat El Halabi
, Roger Achkar
, Gaby Abou Haidar
Department of Computer and Communications Engineering, American University of Science and Technology
Abstract—As many other species, honeybees are becoming
extinct in the world; this phenomenon is called the Colony
Collapse Disorder. Many reasons have been proven to be
behind this environmental disaster like climate changes,
pesticides, fungal pathogens and others, in addition to
radiations generated by mobile phones, especially, since in
recent years wild life has been exposed to microwaves and radio
frequency's radiation signals from various sources, including
wireless phones. Bees have a specific organ for sensing magnetic
forces, enabling them to navigate using their own compass. The
claim of the research is that radiations generated by mobile
phones are disturbing the life cycle of honeybees and affecting
their reproduction system and honey producing. The research
involves testing the behavior of honeybees away from mobile
phones, with a mobile phone in its standby mode and active
communication mode. The results of the experiments verified
that mobile phone affect the honeybees' life system.
Keywords: Honeybees; Mobile phone Radiation; Colony collapse
Disorder; Audiogram; Spectrogram.
Honey bees are sometimes called social insects; this is due
to the fact that they live in colonies and they divide the jobs
inside the hive between themselves, bees life cycle is a
complex process in which a good communication is needed
between honeybees in order to survive as a whole colony .
Bees have different ways to communicate, these
communication ways are dances; bees dance to share
information between each others, for example, they
communicate the specific location of good food sources, thus,
any intruder will disturb this non stopping system .
The claim in this research is that the radiations emitted by
mobile phones are possibly the reason behind a great natural
disaster: the disappearance of the honeybees all over the
world. The mobile phone radiations disturb the bees’
navigational system, leaving them unable to find their way
back to the colony; this phenomenon will lead to problems in
their reproduction system and to their death eventually.
This project has great significance because honeybees are
a very important part of the ecological system since they
pollinate 80% of the flowering plants, which makes up the
1/3 of what humans eat. In the same sense, Albert Einstein
predicted that if something eliminates the bees from our
planet, mankind would soon perish.
The effects of colony collapse disorder can be
economically significant as well since the food and
agriculture industry could lose billions of dollars.
II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
A. Disapperance of honey bees
As of 1972, beekeepers started to notice that the number
of honeybees is decreasing more and more; losses differ
from country to country and from region to region inside the
same country. In North America, the National Agriculture
Statistics service reported in February 2008 that there were
2.44 million honeybees’ hives in the United States, while
there were 4.5 million in 1980, and 5.9 million in 1947. The
NAS report evaluated winter losses during 2000-2001 to be
50%, while its normal rate of loss is 15-25%. During 2006-
2007 the losses reached 45%, and during 2007-2008 the
losses reached 40.8%, and in 2010 the losses were 34% .
According to the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA), the United Kingdom had a decrease of 30% of its
honeybees’ hives between 2007 & 2008, and Italy had a drop
of 40-50% ; in Scotland the disappearance was catastrophic
in 2009 where it reached 80%, and in Germany 40% of hives
died in 2007 .
In Lebanon, the case is not better. A study done by Mr.
Mazen Aboud, a professor at the American University of
Beirut (AUB) and an FAO technician on the National Census
Project, showed that the losses in honeybees in Lebanon
were more than 50% in 2006. Dr. Rami Ollaik, another
professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB)
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, found in his
study about colony collapse disorder that 30 to 35% of
Lebanese hives disappeared in 2010. This study took place in
South Lebanon and in Batroun region: in south Lebanon the
losses reached 30-35%, and in Batroun they reached 22.2%,
where 100 of the 450 hives were lost .
B. Existing Work
The topic discussed in this paper was researched in some
other studies but from a different angle; they didn’t analyze
the buzzing sounds produced by bees when exposed to
mobile phones’ radiations.
Sharmal and Kumar studied the effect of mobile phones
on honeybees by taking into consideration the following
measures: brood area, queen prolificacy, foraging which
includes flight activity, pollen foraging efficiency, and
returning ability, and finally the colony growth which
includes bees’ strength, honey stores and pollen storage .
The results showed that the total bees’ strength decreased
due to the exposure; in addition, the brood area declined for
the same reason as well as the number of eggs laid.
Moreover, the number of bees leaving and returning to the
hive decreased; consequently, the total number of bees
holding pollen also decreased, so did the pollen area, the
nectar area and the honey storing ability .
In a research on the impact of mobile phones on the
density of honeybees, Sahib  related the decline in bees’
population in India to mobile phones’ radiations. To
demonstrate his hypothesis, the author introduced the test
colonies to mobile phones’ radiations of 900 MHz
frequency, for 10 minutes, during ten days. He studied the
bees’ life cycle by observing the productivity of bees in
terms of laying of eggs, flight activity, and the returning
ability; i.e., the number of bees leaving and returning back
respectively to the hive per minute, before, during and after
the exposure .
After ten days of mobile phone's radiation exposure, the
bees did not return back to the hive, and the bees’ strength of
the test colonies was reduced. In addition, the productivity of
queens was reduced as compared to that of the control
colonies: in the test colonies bees were producing fewer eggs
than those in the control colonies .
Mixson et al.  did four experiments to study the effect
of mobile phones on honeybees. In the first experiment, the
proboscis extension response of honeybees was studied after
exposing them to mobile phone's radiations; this experiment
showed that there was no effect due to GSM radiations
The second experiment was to study the feeding ability of
bees exposed to mobile phone's radiations; the experiment
showed that those radiations had no effect on the feeding
ability of bees .
The third experiment was to study the effect of the same
radiations on the flight navigation activity of forager bees.
The authors say that similarly to the previous experiments,
the third experiment showed that mobile phone's radiations
had no effect on the bees’ ability to return back to a food
source that they were previously trained to visit .
The last experiment was to study the effect of GSM
radiations on the aggression of bees. The authors said that
the radiations generated by mobile phones did not increase
the aggression of the bees .
The authors concluded that: if mobile phone's radiations
affect honeybees’ behavior, it should have been apparent
during the experiments; moreover, they saw that the decline
in honeybees’ population has other reasons than GSM
radiations, like biological pathogens, agrochemicals, climate
change, and genetically modified crops .
It is clearly noticed that the previous researchers did not
take into consideration the sounds that are naturally
produced by bees; as such, this study tackles the behavior of
honeybees and their response to mobile phones’ radiations as
studied through sounds produced by bees in all modes of the
mobile phone. In addition, using a jammer provides an
additional analysis, especially that the jammer transmits
signals similar to GSM signals, but with higher transmission
In short, as deduced from the aforementioned literature,
two experiments support the hypothesis of the writers, while
the last study rejected it; this discrepancy means that
additional experiments are needed to utterly prove one of the
III. PROPOSED SOLUTION
In this study, the spectrum analyzer is used as the
measurement instrument that gives a representation of the
signals transmitted by mobile phones, where the 2G bands
available in Lebanon are GSM 900 with 890-915 MHz
uplink band and 935-960 MHz downlink band, and GSM
1800 with 1710-1735 MHz uplink band and 1805-1880
downlink band, while the 3G bands are UMTS900 with 880-
915 MHz uplink band and 925-960 MHz downlink bans, and
UMTS2100 with 1920-1980 MHz uplink band and 2110-
2170 MHz downlink bands .
In addition, the Adobe Audition software is used to plot
the audiogram, which represents the intensity of sounds
produced by honeybees and the spectrogram that represents
the spectrum of the signals produced.
After exposing bees to mobile phones’ radiations, if these
radiations disturb honeybees’ navigational system, then the
claim is proved. This fact leads to the need of studying the
behavior of honeybees in their normal setting, which means
without the presence of a mobile phone in the near vicinity,
then with the presence of a mobile phone operating in its
standby mode, and finally in its active communication mode.
"Fig. 1" represents the basic design of the experiment.
Fig. 1. The basic design of the experiments
The different parts of the design are described as follows:
1: Background hive.
2: Hive exposed to mobile phones radiations.
3: Portable computer.
4: Mobile phone.
5: Aaronia Spectrum Analyzer Materials.
6 and 7: Bidirectional compact microphones with frequency
response from 70 to 14000 Hz.
MATLAB Software was used in order to plot the
recordings of the spectrum analyzer, saving them in a two
dimensional table where results can be either frequency
versus time (plotting the activated frequencies at different
times), or amplitude versus frequency (plotting the
amplitudes of different frequencies at a constant time).
A. Measuring Signals Transmitted by the Honeybees
First, the honeybees’ behavior was studied while in their
normal setting, which means in the absence of any mobile
phone operating in the near vicinity.
Fig. 2. Frequency versus time in normal case (plotted using MATLAB)
As "Fig. 2" shows, honeybees were transmitting signals
with frequency varying between 400 Hz and 500 Hz in their
normal setting. This result will be used as a reference to be
compared with the results obtained when the honeybees are
disturbed. Any change in these frequencies will indicate that
the honeybees are not in their normal setting anymore.
In order to get clearer results, Adobe Audition Software
was used to give the audiograms and the spectrograms.
"Fig. 3" represents the audiogram of the sounds produced
by honeybees in their normal setting; the figure shows that
the sounds’ intensity varies between 0 and 0.4 normalized
Fig. 3. Audiogram of honeybees’ sounds without mobile phone (Sketched
using Adobe Audition)
Fig. 4. Spectrogram of honeybees’ sounds without mobile phone (Sketched
using Adobe Audition)
"Fig. 4" represents the spectrogram of the honeybees’
sounds in normal setting. Honeybees use a constant range of
frequencies between 300 Hz and 500 Hz.
Second, the behavior of honeybees with the presence of a
mobile phone operating in its standby mode was studied.
Fig. 5. Frequency versus time with mobile phone in standby mode (plotted
B. The Effect of a Mobile Phone in Standby Mode
"Fig. 5" shows that a mobile phone in its standby mode
does not affect honeybees since the signals transmitted by
honeybees are identical to those transmitted in the normal
case, which is between 400 Hz and 500 Hz. This means that
honeybees behave in the presence of a mobile phone in its
standby mode as if there is no mobile phone nearby.
Fig. 6. Audiogram of bees’ sounds with mobile phone in standby mode
(Sketched using Adobe Audition).
"Fig. 6" represents the audiogram of the honeybees’ sound
in the presence of a mobile phone in its standby mode; the
normalized output varies between 0 and 0.45 as a maximum;
hence, no effect was introduced.
Fig. 7. Spectrogram of bees’ sounds with mobile phone in standby mode
(Sketched using Adobe Audition)
The spectrogram shown in "Fig. 7" is not far from what
was obtained in the previous figure. The frequency response
of the honeybees was not affected by the presence of the
mobile phone in its standby mode; it is approximately the
same compared to the frequency response obtained in the
absence of mobile phone, and the frequencies used by the
bees vary between 300 Hz and 500 Hz.
C. The Effect of a Mobile Phone in Active Mode
The third step was to test the behavior of honeybees in the
presence of a mobile phone operating in its ON mode. First,
the mobile phone was set in standby mode for approximately
five minutes, after that a call was made. The results of this
test are shown in "Fig. 8".
The mobile phone was set in standby mode until marker 1;
at marker 1, a call was made to the mobile phone. The bees
stayed relaxed for approximately ten minutes, producing
sounds at normal frequencies: between 400 Hz and 500 Hz.
At marker 2, the honeybees started producing sounds at
increasingly higher frequencies. The frequencies kept
increasing until they reached the maximum frequency of
1520 Hz, after 1150 seconds (19.16 minutes). At marker 3,
the call was interrupted, but the honeybees did not return to a
relaxing state until approximately 3.3 minutes after
interrupting the call. At marker 4, the frequencies used by
honeybees started decreasing; at marker 5, the honeybees
returned totally to their relax mode and their frequencies
returned to varying between 400 Hz and 500 Hz.
Fig. 8. Frequency versus time with mobile phone in active mode (plotted
The results given by the Adobe Audition Software were
very close to those obtained using the Spectrum Analyzer.
"Fig. 9" clearly shows how the mobile phone in its active
communication mode affected the behavior of honeybees: at
marker 1, on the onset of the experiment, the intensity of the
sounds produced by honeybees had normalized amplitude
between 0 and 0.3, even if at some very short periods the
normalized amplitude reached 0.5.
Fig. 9. Audiogram of honeybees’ sounds with mobile phone in active mode
(Sketched using Adobe Audition)
At marker 2, the bees remained relaxed until
approximately ten minutes into the experiment; at marker 3,
the bees started producing sounds with higher intensity,
where the normalized amplitude reached 0.7 as a maximum.
At marker 4, the call was ended and the bees remained
disturbed for three to four more minutes; while, at marker 5,
they started returning to their normal case with normal
Fig. 10. Spectrogram of honeybees’ sounds with mobile phone in active
mode (Sketched using Adobe Audition)
The result obtained by the spectrogram shown in "Fig. 10"
is complementary to that shown by the audiogram. The
intensity of the sounds produced by the honeybees is not the
only evidence that the phone in active mode has disturbed
the bees; the frequency response of the honeybees is also
The 10 minutes delay is due to the time needed for the
bees to realize the presence of an intruder: the
electromagnetic waves; the intense buzzing sounds are
considered as an alarm to inform the colony that something
abnormal is present. Moreover, the delay after interrupting
the call is due to the time needed for the bees to notice that
the intruder is not present anymore.
D. The Effect of a Jammer
Another experiment was performed in order to see the
effect of mobile phones’ radiations on the bees' life system.
After keeping a mobile for a period of one month next to the
hive, and by making a fifteen-minute call each day, it was
realized that the number of bees inside the hive decreased;
the bee keeper estimated that 80% of the bees were lost. The
eggs were also not transformed into larva, "Fig. 11". These
results verify that mobile phones’ radiations affect the
honeybees’ life’s system.
In order to study the effect of the same signals transmitted
by mobile phones, but with higher amplitude or higher
transmission power, a jammer was used and the behavior of
the bees was recorded.
A jammer was turned ON and placed near the hive in
order to study the behavior of the honeybees that are
subjected to such high powered signals.
Fig. 11. Comparison between the healthy hive (a) and the hive exposed to
mobile phone radiations (b)
Fig. 12. Audiogram of honeybees’ sounds with a jammer nearby (Sketched
using Adobe Audition)
The audiogram in "Fig. 12" shows how the honeybees
were extremely disturbed by the jammer. At marker 1, the
sounds produced by honeybees had normalized amplitudes
that were between 0 and 0.3 approximately. At marker 2, the
jammer was turned ON, the bees remained relaxed until
three minutes and a half, where at marker 3, the bees started
producing sounds with higher intensity and the normalized
amplitudes exceeded 0.6. At marker 4, the jammer was
turned OFF, but it is clear that the bees did not return to the
relaxed mode even after thirteen minutes from turning the
jammer off. The spectrogram shown in "Fig. 13" represents
Fig. 13. Spectrogram of honeybees’ sounds with a jammer nearby
(Sketched using Adobe Audition).
The experiments performed showed that honeybees in
their normal case produced sounds at lower frequencies
around 450 Hz, and with lower intensity 0.3 normalized
amplitude. But, when they were disturbed by the presence of
a mobile phone, they produced sounds with higher
frequencies that reached 1.5 KHz, and with higher intensity
that reached 0.7 normalized amplitude. The same
experiments were done in Talya- Bekaa-Lebanon; the same
results were obtained.
All experiments were executed under the same conditions,
no intruders or abnormal circumstances were added; this
means that the disturbance couldn’t have been for another
reason than the mobile phone’s radiations.
The time needed for bees to start being affected depends
essentially on the transmission power of waves’ source; this
is observed after using the jammer which transmits signals
similar to those of the mobile phone but with higher
transmission power, for that reason, in the case of using a
jammer bees started producing sounds with higher intensity
and at higher frequencies after a shorter time than the case of
using a mobile phone. Moreover, bees did not return back to
their normal case after turning the jammer off because they
need more than thirteen minutes to realize that the waves are
not existing anymore, and because the effect of the jammer is
more harmful than that of the mobile phone.
In this paper, the behavior of honeybees was studied in
different cases, including the absence of mobile phone, the
presence of a mobile phone in standby mode, the presence of
a mobile phone in active communication mode and in the
presence of a jammer.
The placing of mobile phones or jammers very close to
the honeybees does not reflect the case in real life. Finding
the minimum space required for mobile phones to start
affecting honeybees’ life system will be the next step. In this
paper, honeybees were exposed to an average of 25 nT of
electromagnetic waves strength. The effect of mobile phone
towers on honeybees will be also important since these
towers create much higher electromagnetic waves than those
emitted by mobile phones.
This research could be extended into several branches: the
effects of the mobile radiations could be studied on different
animals like birds, ants, bats and other animals, since bees
are not the only animals which are becoming extinct; the
electromagnetic fields may be the reason behind this decline.
Also the effects of the electromagnetic fields on the human
beings could be analyzed, because in the last few years the
rate of people affected with brain cancer has been increasing
and the electromagnetic fields may be the reason. In
addition, a research may be done on the ways to protect both
the animals and the humans from these harmful radiations;
the specific waves that may affect the human species and
animals in a negative way may be measured.
The authors wish to acknowledge and extend gratitude to
the American University of Science and Technology in
general, the research council and the department of
Computer and Communications Engineering in specific, for
their help to make the completion of this research possible.
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