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In these experiments, a bee entered a very simple Y-shaped maze. We played a sound at one end of this two-sided feeder. The side from which the sound came changed unpredictably from one trial to next. If the bee turned toward the sound, she received a reward of sugar water; if she went away from the sound, she received nothing. We observed that the bees learned quickly to turn toward the sound. Claudia Dreller, a graduate student at Würzburg, used the procedure to explore the frequency and amplitude range in which the bees could hear. Dreller's work showed that honeybees sense only low frequencies, those below 500 hertz. They hear these tones with sufficient sensitivity to pick up the sounds of a dancing nestmate, which range from 250 to 300 hertz. They also show some ability to discriminate between frequencies in this range; they can discriminate between low- (20 hertz), medium- (100 hertz) and high-pitched (320 hertz) sounds. We do not yet know for what purpose the bees might use this latter ability.
Pattazhy, however, is not the first scientist to notice the phenomenon of CCD occurring in bees due to mobile phone-tower proximity. A limited study at Landau University in 2007, headed by Dr Jochen Kuhn, had found that bees refused to return to their hives when mobile phones were placed nearby. As back as in late 1990s, a researcher, George Carlo, had headed a massive study sponsored by the US Government and the mobile phone industry in America, had said, “I am convinced that the possibility is real.”