Date of Award

10-2019

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Biological Sciences - Ecology and Natural Resources: M.S.

Department

Biology

College

College of Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Matthew Julius

Second Advisor

William Cook

Third Advisor

John Sinko

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Honey Bees, Magnetite, WiFi router, Electromagnetic Fields, Orientation

Abstract

The Italian Honey Bee (Apis mellifera ssp. ligustica) is a commonly managed honey bee in the United States; however, two decades ago a decline in overwintering populations that led to a collapse of the population with no apparent cause had been observed. Past studies have shown that parasites (animal and viral) that infect the colony can lead to a collapse. In addition, neonicotinoid class pesticide exposure has been found to have a negative effect on the overall health of the hive and has led to colony collapses. Recently, a new idea has been proposed to be impacting bees physiologically: exposure to artificial electromagnetic fields. Honey bees possess nanoparticles within their abdomens composed of magnetite (Fe3O4), and they use these particles to detect the earth’s electromagnetic field for orientation and thus navigation during foraging flights. Wireless fidelity (WiFi) routers at the 2.4 GHz frequency generate artificial magnetic fields which may pose a threat to the orientation of honey bees. A preliminary experiment was conducted to determine a method for extraction of magnetite nanoparticles and to verify the particles extracted were magnetic. A second in situ experiment was conducted to test the effect of a continuous electromagnetic field exposure at 2.4 GHz frequency would have on the magnetite particles produced by WiFi routers for 30 days. Results for the preliminary experiment show that the method of extraction is valid and that the particles extracted are indeed magnetic. Results for the second experiment suggest that exposure to 2.4 GHz waves for thirty days has no effect on the average particle size; in addition, the results suggest that there is no effect on the number of particles on average within individual honeybees post exposure.

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