Bees struggle to find flowers because of air pollution

A research team from various institutions including the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and several universities found that ozone has a significant impact on the size and scent of floral odour plumes emitted by flowers. It was discovered that ozone reduces honeybees’ ability to recognize odours by up to 90% from a short distance away. Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles and industrial processes react with volatile organic compounds emitted from vegetation in the presence of sunlight. This study provides evidence that ground-level ozone affects pollinators, which has implications for both the natural environment and food security. It is suggested that ozone may negatively impact wildflower abundance and crop yields. The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and was published in the journal Environmental Pollution.

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