Bees are having a hard time. Pathogens, insecticides and loss of habitat are all thought to be contributing to a decline in their numbers. Now a potential new threat has been added to the “perfect storm” threatening these insects. A group at Southampton University recently reported that diesel exhaust could be affecting the ability of honeybees to detect oilseed rape. The work was widely reported in the press with headlines such as “Bees losing sense of smell because of traffic fumes”, “Diesel fumes confuse honeybees when foraging” and “Bees cant sniff out flowers because of CARS: diesel fumes change the odour of blooms and could cause a global food crisis”
These are potentially important findings so I have tried to explain the significance of the work in a piece I wrote on another blogging site.