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Diesel Emissions Linked to Bee Population Decline

Chemicals in diesel fuel may be preventing bees from using their sense of smell to find flower nectar and pollinate plants.

Research conducted by the University of Southampton has revealed that diesel emissions may be contributing to colony bee collapse disorder by inhibiting the insects from using their sense of smell to detect the nectar in flowers. During the study, scientists exposed bees to a floral scent that triggered their normal nectar-gathering behavior; when the scents were mixed with a chemical component found in diesel fuel, the insects were found to no longer be able to detect the flower smell. “A bee has far poorer recognition of an altered floral mix,” says study co-author Tracey Newman. “The bee needs to learn the unadulterated version, and if the bee has learned it, it will then struggle with the version that has been chemically altered.”

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