Traffic fumes are confusing bees in their hunt for food

Traffic fumes can interfere with the critical odour cues used by honeybees to forage for food according to the first detailed study of how pollution can affect a bee’s ability to find nectar and pollen.

Tests show that the gases emitted by diesel engines mask the complex chemistry of floral odours that honeybees remember and use to navigate their way through their feeding range.

Further tests found that honeybees are no longer able to recognise the floral odours they use to find food once the scents are mixed with diesel gases in the concentrations typically found near Britain’s roadsides.

The findings show how the ability of honeybees to collect food and build up stores of honey is being compromised by one of several “stressors” in their environment, which may also include parasitic infections and pesticides, scientists said.

Read the rest at the Independent

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