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Diesel Fumes are Stopping Bees from Finding Flowers



If bees didn’t have it hard enough a recent discovery from the University of Reading and the University of Southampton found that nearly half of the scents that bees need in order to find flowers is being blocked by diesel fumes.

If bees can’t find flowers then they can’t produce food.  With the bee population already in a sharp decline, something drastic needs to be done in order to preserve the earth as we know it.

Bees rely on their noses in order to find flowers, pollinate them, and make food for themselves.  Without flowers being pollinated, they will die off which really cuts down everything from out cotton clothes industry to our food production industry.

If you don’t know how important the bees are for our world’s food production check out this short video that explains everything you need to know.

According to the study, researchers found that especially in polluted areas the diesel fumes block out and confuse a bees’ sense of smell.  NOx is a poisonous pollutant that is expelled by diesel engines and is harmful towards humans as well.  What they found was that 5 of the 11 floral scents become chemically altered when they run into NOx gasses.

According to Dr Robbie Girling, lead author from the study published from the University of Reading’s Centre for Agri-Environmental Research (formerly known as the University of Southampton) said that



Bees are worth millions to the British economy alone, but we know they have been in decline worldwide.

“We don’t think that air pollution from diesel vehicles is the main reason for this decline, but our latest work suggests that it may have a worse effect on the flower odours needed by bees than we initially thought.

“People rely on bees and pollinating insects for a large proportion of our food, yet humans have paid the bees back with habitat destruction, insecticides, climate change and air pollution.

“This work highlights that pollution from dirty vehicles is not only dangerous to people’s health, but could also have an impact on our natural environment and the economy.

140909-naturalgastrucks-editorialProfessor Guy Poppy, who also worked on the study said that

“It is becoming clear that bees are at risk from a range of stresses from neonicitinoid insecticides through to varroa mites.

Our research highlights that a further stress could be the increasing amounts of vehicle emissions affecting air quality.

Whilst it is unlikely that these emissions by themselves could be affecting bee populations, combined with the other stresses, it could be the tipping point.

If we don’t dramatically change the way we influence nature then we may do irreversible damage.  What do you think we should do to stop the declining bee population and preserve this world for future generations?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Sources-University of Southampton. “Scents and sense ability: Diesels fumes alter half the flower smells bees need.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2015. <>.

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