Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 164, Issue 4, pp 423–431

Magnetic field effects on activity and ageing in honeybees

  • Hermann Martin
  • Herbert Korall
  • Barbara Förster


Artificial magnetic fields (MF) influence physiological processes in bees.
  1. 1.

    An inhomogeneous, static magnetic field (IMF) reduces the flying activity of bees and increases their life span by more than 60%.

  2. 2.

    The content of the ageing pigment lipofuscin in brain and, to a lesser extent, in thorax muscles increases with the physiological age. The content of lipofuscin of the thorax muscle is only 1/5 that of the brain.

  3. 3.

    Despite their increased chronological age (60–74%) brain lipofuscin of bees under conditions of an inhomogeneous, static magnetic field is slightly reduced compared with bees in natural earth's magnetic field (EMF) conditions. No effects could be registered in the muscle lipofuscin of the thorax.

  4. 4.

    There was no correlation between the content of lipofuscin and the chronological age.

  5. 5.

    Flying activity is also reduced by horizontal magnetic fields (0.40–1.45 Oe).

  6. 6.

    Dance tempo is reduced in compensated EMF and amplified static magnetic fields (0.84 Oe). Dance tempo is drastically reduced if compensation of the EMF is followed by application of a 5 Hz magnetic field with 1.04 Oepp, directed E-W.


Abbreviations, symbols and terms


activity of bees, i.e. visits per bee and day


compensated earth's magnetic field


earth's magnetic field


inhomogeneous static magnetic field


continuous light conditions


light-dark interval, in h


Middle European Time


magnetic field


Oersted, i.e. unit of the magnetic field force (1 Oe=79.6 A/m)


Oe peak-peak




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermann Martin
    • 1
  • Herbert Korall
    • 1
  • Barbara Förster
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisches Institut II der UniversitätWürzburgFederal Republic of Germany

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