Our Smog Thwarts Bees

An important and not-at-all surprising new study by Jose D. Fuentes of the University of Virginia shows that air pollution hampers bees' ability to follow the scent of flowers to their source—a clear impediment to the delicate and essential process of pollination upon which our lives (or at least life as we know it) depend.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the "mystery" of CCD may well be connected to this and the many other environmental insults the honeybees and other pollinators are enduring at our hand. Yes, folks, everything going wrong with the honeybees IS our fault! Canary-in-the-Coalmine Alert, Code Red.

The Washington Post article titled Air Pollution Impedes Bees' Ability to Find Flowers includes the following:

"In the prevailing conditions before the 1800s, the researchers calculated that a flower's scent could travel between 3,280 feet and 4,000 feet, Fuentes said in an interview, but today, that scent might travel 650 feet to 1,000 feet in highly polluted areas such as the District of Columbia, Los Angeles or Houston.

"'That's where we basically have all the problems,' Fuentes said, adding that ozone levels are particularly high during summer. 'The impacts of pollution on pollinator activity are pronounced during the summer months.'

"This phenomenon triggers a cycle, the authors noted, in which the pollinators have trouble finding sufficient food, and as a result their populations decline. That, in turn, translates into decreased pollination and keeps flowering plants, including many fruits and vegetables, from proliferating."

Enough said. (And thanks, S.J., for the tip.)

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