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“Honey bees are like nature’s dust mops. They pick up bits of everything while foraging and bring it all back to the hive, making them excellent, cheap and fast environmental sentinels… Radioactive cesium will be detectable in their hives even when its levels in the environment are negligible. The flip side, of course, is that their honey concentrates radionuclides.” — Mary Mycio, author of Wormwood Forest<br />
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A bee pollinates cherry blossoms in Ivankiv. However, inside the Exclusion Zone the quantity of invertebrates present has been shown to fall as radiation increases. Researchers discovered that abandoned orchards in some locations nearly stopped bearing fruit because too few insects remained. Those species that are present may live shorter lives and reproduce less well.<br />
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The effects of low-level radiation on the abundance of animals remain unknown. Chernobyl populations exhibit a wide variety of deformities not found in any normal population. This new research upends earlier reports claiming that the Exclusion Zone had become a wildlife sanctuary due to the sudden absence of people. <br />
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“Chernobyl will do just fine as a radioactive wilderness. We, however, probably won’t.” writes Mycio.<br />
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This photograph is part of Michael Forster Rothbart’s After Chernobyl documentary photography project.<br />
© Michael Forster Rothbart 2007-2011.<br />
www.afterchernobyl.com<br />
www.mfrphoto.com • 607-267-4893 • 607-432-5984<br />
5 Draper St, Oneonta, NY 13820<br />
86 Three Mile Pond Rd, Vassalboro, ME 04989<br />
info@mfrphoto.com<br />
Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart<br />
Date:  4/2009    File#:  Canon 5D digital camera frame 61647<br />
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Original caption:<br />
Pedestrians pass by as the cherry trees blossom in front of an apartment building at Kievska 6 in Ivankiv, Ukraine, and Nastya (no surname given) works in her garden beside the bloooms. Ivankiv is the closest inhabited city to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
“Honey bees are like nature’s dust mops. They pick up bits of everything while foraging and bring it all back to the hive, making them excellent, cheap and fast environmental sentinels… Radioactive cesium will be detectable in their hives even when its levels in the environment are negligible. The flip side, of course, is that their honey concentrates radionuclides.” — Mary Mycio, author of Wormwood Forest

A bee pollinates cherry blossoms in...
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