Diesel Exhaust Shown to Prevent Bees From Smelling Flowers

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Pollinators like honeybees are attracted to the sweet scent of flowers, which entices them to land and drink the nectar. A new study from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom shows that chemicals emitted from diesel fuel exhaust might be causing the bees to not recognize the scented chemicals that are given off by flowers.

Pollinators like honeybees are attracted to the sweet scent of flowers, which entices them to land and drink the nectar.

A new study from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom shows that chemicals emitted from diesel fuel exhaust might be causing the bees to not recognize the scented chemicals that are given off by flowers.

When researchers mixed the diesel exhaust fumes with the flower smell chemicals, they found that two of the odors were gone after they reacted with mono-nitrogen oxide from the diesel exhaust.

Doctor Tracey Newman from the University of Southampton who worked on the study said: “Bees need to decipher the chemical messages they're getting from flowers to be able to home in on the flowers they know will give the best yield of nectar.”

The researchers also did an experiment where they gave the bees a drop of sugary liquid so they would associate that with the smell of a certain chemical and stick out their tongue to drink the sugar water.

After the smell had been mixed with the mono-nitrogen oxide, the bees did not react by sticking their tongue out.

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