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Diesel Fumes Interfere with Honey Bees’ Sense of Smell

Honeybees utilise floral odours when foraging for flowers, and scientists from Britain’s University of Southampton have investigated whether diesel exhaust pollution could interrupt these floral odour stimuli. A synthetic blend of eight floral chemicals, identified from oilseed rape, was exposed to diesel exhaust pollution. Within one minute of exposure the abundances of four of the chemicals were significantly lowered, with two components rendered undetectable.

Honeybees were trained to recognise the full synthetic odour mix; altering the blend, by removing the two chemicals rendered undetectable, significantly reduced the ability of the trained honeybees to recognize the altered odour. Furthermore, they found that at environmentally relevant levels the mono-nitrogen oxide fraction of the exhaust gases was a key facilitator of this odour degradation. Such changes in recognition may impact upon a honeybee’s foraging efficiency and therefore the pollination services that they provide.

The percentage of forager honeybees which, after learning the full synthetic floral blend, extended their proboscis (indicating recognition) when presented with the synthetic blend minus either α-farnesene (-αf), α-terpinene (-αt) or both chemicals (-both). Nike Seattle Seahawks jerseys

“This could have serious detrimental effects on the number of honeybee colonies and pollination activity,” Tracey Newman, a neuroscientist who worked on the study, said. Guy Poppy, an ecology professor who worked with Newman, said that to be able to forage effectively, honeybees need to be able to learn and recognise plants – a process their results showed could be disrupted by the so-called NOx gases, particularly nitrogen dioxide, found in diesel exhaust and other pollution.

Chemical odours are central to communication in insects and their interaction with the environment. A prime example of this is the floral odours that are produced by flowering plants to manipulate the behaviour of insects and facilitate pollination.

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  • Globally the economic value of pollination has been estimated at [euro]153 billion a year, with 70% of the world’s principal food crops relying upon pollination, equating to 35% of global food production. Clemson Tigers Pollinator populations are declining on a global scale and anthropogenic anthropogenic substances, such as synthetic insecticides, are implicated as key contributors to the reductions of both wild and managed pollinators.

    Air pollution is one of the most ubiquitous environmental human impacts, however its effects on honeybees are unknown. Honeybees have a sensitive sense of smell and an exceptional ability to learn and memorize new odours, enabling them to use floral odours to help locate, identify and recognise the flowers from which they forage. There is a huge diversity of floral odours, therefore any disruption to these blends could impact upon the ability of plants to communicate with their pollinators, which may have a negative impact on both parties.

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  • Theoretical models predict that anthropogenic emissions (including ozone, hydroxyl radicals and nitrate radicals) are likely to reduce the detection distances of plant emitted odours available to pollinators, and empirical data has demonstrated that such compounds can interrupt plant-to-plant odour communication.

    Despite advances in filtration technology and tighter regulations on airborne emissions, diesel exhaust remains a major environmental pollutant. nike pas cher Many countries have guidelines in place to limit the emission of toxic gases produced as a result of the combustion of diesel and other fossil fuel. Air Jordan For Sale Of these gases the NOx fraction is the most reactive and is known to have deleterious effects on both human health and plant growth.

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  • However the emissions limits for one of the NOxgases, nitrogen dioxide, are regularly exceeded especially in urban areas. Whilst there is an overall downward trend in nitrogen dioxide emission in Europe, it continues to be a significant environmental pollutant, particularly in countries undergoing rapid economic growth, such as China.

    Honeybees are known to use the whole range of chemicals found in a floral blend to discriminate between different blends, and this research indicates that some chemicals in a blend may be more important than others in this discrimination process. Nike Air Max 2016 Heren blauw Whilst these results are the outcome of an artificial manipulation of the odour blend, the fact that removal of such a minor constituent can have such a profound effect on the ability of honeybees to recognize a floral odour may have significant ramifications for the ability of honeybees to efficiently forage for floral resources and therefore provide pollination services.

    In nature honeybees use a combination of visual stimuli and floral odours to locate a flower for the first time. Honeybees associatively learn that a floral odour is concomitant with foraging success by gaining a reward of nectar whilst on the flower in the presence of high levels of floral odours. new balance shop firenze Learning a floral odour remotely from the flower is less likely, because it would require a honeybee to remember an odour that occurs at a time distinct from the reward. Degradation of an odour source by pollution is likely to be more pronounced at distance from the flower, where concentrations of the odours are lower. Foraging honeybees may then be incapable of recognizing that the floral odours it detects remote from flowers are those that it associates with reward. This could result in a greater dependence upon other senses critical for foraging behaviour, such as vision, to compensate for the reduction in olfactory stimuli.

    Disruption of odour communication by components of exhaust pollution could be detrimental to many insect species. Baylor Bears In the case of pollinator species, including the honeybee, these effects would have major economic and ecological impacts, particularly when in conjunction with other stressors detrimental to pollinator health.

    Giles Budge of Britain’s Food and Environment Research Agency said Newton’s study highlighted a fresh issue to add to the many problems facing insect pollinators. But he said that since the study was based in the laboratory, more research is needed to see if the problem is occurring in the wider environment.\

    via Nature.

    Two Remote Scottish Isles To Become UK’s First Reserve For Honey Bees

    There are around 250 native species of bee in Britain but just a single honey bee – the Apis mellifera. The isles of Colonsay and Oronsay are currently home to around 50 colonies and have now been named in a new Scottish Government order to protect the species from cross-breeding and disease.

    The Bee Keeping (Colonsay and Oronsay) Order 2013 comes into force on 1 January and will make it an offence to keep any honeybees on the islands except Apis mellifera, whose hardiness allows them to survive the harsh climate of Scotland’s west coast.

    Beekeeper Andrew Abrahams has campaigned for the islands to be recognised as a sanctuary for the species.

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  • He began keeping bees on Colonsay 35 years ago, but the island has an even longer tradition as a haven for the black bee. Air Max 2017 Dames Its isolation and lack of an existing honeybee population saw it chosen as the site for an experimental breeding station for the native bee in 1941.

    Welcoming the new legislation, Abrahams said: “It’s the government’s acknowledgement that native bees should be conserved because they are much more suitable to our difficult environment, and the increasingly difficult environment global warming will bring us.”

    Most of Britain’s native honeybee species were wiped out in the early 20th century by the “Isle of Wight disease”, caused by a parasitic mite which spread throughout the country.

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  • A few isolated populations survived and formed the basis of apiaries set up by Abrahams in 1978.

    The biggest threat to bees kept in apiaries today is the deadly Varroa mite, which was first discovered in the UK in 1992 and has led to the virtual elimination of feral bee colonies in many areas. Adidas Scarpe Uomo Colonsay was chosen as a reserve because its bees are free from the disease and are genetically pure.

    The Scottish Government granted the order after a public consultation received overwhelming support.

    Nigel Southworth, New Balance 574 Pas Cher editor of the Scottish Beekeeper magazine, said: “This is great news for beekeeping, Asics Gel Lyte 5 męskie not only in Scotland, but the whole of the UK and beyond.

    “Congratulations to Andrew for achieving this and full credit to the Scottish Government for going ahead with the reserve.

    “At a time when honeybees are facing perhaps the greatest threat to their survival, this very positive move could be seen in future years to be one of the landmark decisions that helped not only to save this kind of bee, but triggered new initiatives to help both the honeybees and mankind.”

    Eric McArthur, vice president of Glasgow and District Beekeepers’ Association, said: “The need for this reserve has been a long time in coming.”

    McArthur added that the Colonsay and Oronsay reserve ranks in importance with Australia’s Kangaroo Island, which was designated as a reserve for the native bee of Italy, Apis mellifera ligustica, which was imported there in the 1880s. It is now believed to hold the last remaining pure stock of the species anywhere in the world.

    McArthur said: “The honey bees on Colonsay and Oronsay have the same significance for future Apis mellifera mellifera genetic purity as Kangaroo Island has for Apis mellifera lig­ustica.

    “These islands will become a Mecca not only for worldwide beekeepers interested in seeing the pure race Apis mellifera mellifera for themselves but also for scientists investigating the limits of genetic diversity in any closed and isolated population.

    “The importance of the Col­onsay and Oronsay honeybee reserve to Scotland’s economy cannot be stressed strongly enough and the islands should be developed as a Centre of Excellence for the black bee of Scotland.”

    Environment and climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse, who signed the order, said the new reserve fits in with wider work being undertaken on bee health in Scotland and would be significant in ensuring a bright future for black bees on the island.

    “The Bee Keeping Order illustrates how our non-native species legislation can be used to protect our native wildlife,” he said.

    “The order is a targeted measure to protect an important population of black bees on Colonsay from hybridisation with non-native bees.

    “We are working in close collaboration with the Scottish Beekeepers Association and Bee Farmers Association to deliver the ten-year Honeybee Health Strategy, Jordan 11 Pre-School which aims to achieve a sustainable and healthy population of honeybees for pollination and honey production in Scotland.”

    <span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, Fjällräven Kånken Ryggsäckar palatino;”>via The Scotsman. Images via flickr, Colonsay Information, and 2 Tortoises’ Escapade

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    New Zealand Post Commemorates the Humble Honey Bee

    There’s a reason the saying “busy as a bee” exists, and now New Zealand Post has commemorated the country’s hardest workers, our honey bees.

    In 1913 regional groups of beekeepers formed the National Beekeepers Association of New Zealand, so to celebrate their centenary, New Zealand Post has released six commemorative stamps, which highlight the process of making honey; from bees pollinating the plants through to the production of sweet nectar.

    According to the NBA, honey bees contribute about $5.1billion to New Zealand’s economy, attributable to pollination by honey bees, domestic honey sales and exports, beeswax and exported honey bees. Their value really can’t be understated, and without them we wouldn’t have access to half the foods we do in the supermarket. 

    Ahead of next month’s Bee Aware Month campaign, there couldn’t be a more perfect commemoration of our hard working little food providers. The stamps can be bought from the New Zealand Post website.

    ~Mr B

    Images via NZ Post.