Behavioral studies of pollinator interaction with 5G range electromagnetic radiation

Several research efforts are currently investigating pollinator biomass decline with an emphasis on environmental stressors and including the insect interaction with exogenous electromagnetic fields. Notably, Apidae such as honey bee (Apis Mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus) are now at the forefront of bioelectromagnetic research owing to: their capacity for electroreception of floral cues that support assessment of pollen reward [1]; the demonstrated interaction with magnetic fields with possible impact over their navigation system [2]; and since even a moderate shift of environmental incident power towards the 5G frequency range has been predicted to yield a more than threefold relative increase in the absorbed power by the insects [3]. Behavioral effects potentially caused by the exposure to millimeter waves have been undertaken and are of great relevance owing to the ecological and economic impact of Apidae. Our group has pioneered telemetry of RF-tagged bee across their entire forage range, along with short-range monitoring of untagged bee through radar detection, optical/infrared imaging and machine learning driven behavioral analysis [4]. In this talk we will show how the present technology is particularly suited to characterization of individual bees and even hive status/response under 5G electromagnetic fields, along with a preliminary study of behavioral effects under 5.8 GHz continuous wave radiation. We will also discuss the many challenges remaining in decorrelating potential behavioral response to incident electromagnetic stimuli from meteorological and other environmental stressors. [1] D Clarke et al. “Detection and Learning of floral electric fields by bumblebees”, SCIENCE 340 (5), (2013), https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1230883 [2] T. Ferrari, “Magnets, magnetic field fluctuations and geomagnetic disturbances impair the homing ability of honey bees (apis mellifera). J. Apic. research, 53, 452–465 (2014), https://doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.1.53.4.15. [3] A. Thielens et al., “Radio-frequency electromagnetic field exposure of Western Honey Bees”, Scientific Reports,(2020) 10:461 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-56948-0 [4] S. Wiliams et al. “A comparison of machine-learning assisted optical and thermal camera systems for beehive activity counting”, Smart Agricultural Technology, 2, (2022), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atech.2022.100038