Are Diesel Exhaust Fumes to Blame for Honeybee Colony Collapse?

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posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 11:44 AM
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The importance of bees in our food system often goes unappreciated. Just by going about their daily business, these insects are responsible for pollinating three-quarters of the 100 crop species that provide roughly 90 percent of the global food supply. The most recent estimate for the economic value of this bee activity is that it’s worth over $200 billion.
Large_bee New tests show that diesel pollutants reduce bees’ ability to smell flowers, potentially playing a role in Colony Collapse Disorder.

But in recent years, an alarming number of bee colonies across North America and Europe have begun to collapse. As part of the phenomenon, formally known as Colony Collapse Disorder, worker bees fail to return to the hive after their pollen-collecting trips nearby. We still don’t fully understand what’s driving this trend, but the list of culprits likely includes pesticides, viral infections, intensive agriculture and perhaps even the practice of feeding bees high fructose corn syrup in place of the honey we take from them.

New research, though, suggests there may be an overlooked problem: the exhaust fumes produced by diesel-powered engines. As described in a study published today in Scientific Reports, a group of researchers from the UK’s University of Southampton found that the pollution produced by diesel combustion reduces bees’ ability to recognize the scent of various flowers—a key sense they use in navigating and finding food sources.
Smithsonian.com

This is one of the many possible explanations I have read. The article goes on to list many of them but the fact that they have linked the fumes to confusing the bees sounds plausible. I just do not know how we can solve the problem without a major revamp of the auto industry which I do not see happening anytime soon.




posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 11:56 AM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 


Two problems I have here.

1. Diesel trucks and engines have been around for decades. Why did it suddenly start now?

2. Truck diesel engines (the most common diesel out there), in the newer trucks exhaust essentially nothing but water anymore thanks to the new DEF system.



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 11:57 AM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 


Here is a study released that was able to isolate the die off to a combination of pesticides etc.

Not exactly surprising but it's definitely scary. The scientists were able to separate 21 different agricultural chemicals in one pollen sample.

qz.com...

"Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples."



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:01 PM
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Yep, that doesn't make sense. As the poster above says, diesel fumes have been around for a very long time, why are they only now suddenly killing bees in vast numbers?

Unless they are persistent and build up in the environment over all these years and they're just now reaching a critical poisonous stage. But to the best of my admittedly meager chemistry knowledge, I don't think diesel by-products do that?



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:03 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


They do list a myriad of possibilities but as you said diesel is the most common engine it may be more of a problem now because of the increase of vehicles on the road. More people have vehicles and drive now than ever before.
edit on 7-10-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:05 PM
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The diesel trucks and equipment have been around for a long time with the bees. I am sure they have some effect on them but the mass problems we have been having lately are something different. It is probably a chemical deemed as safe by the FDA. Look at history, the FDA keeps doing that all the time. They usually silently remove the product from the market and do not inform anyone. Then the Chemical companies alter the chemistry slightly and reintroduce it under another name for about five more years till something negative is discovered about it. People aren't very smart, they don't understand that adding one ion changes the name of the chemical but it reverts back as soon as it hits the environment. Nicotine turns to a form of niacin when it hits the lungs.. Overusing any chemical is bad though, even though small amounts are often beneficial.

Diesel additives have changed though. Some of these additives they created could have effected the bees. About a quart is added to the diesel by the driver in a hundred fifty gallons. There seems to be a lot of changes to additive chemistry, maybe that is the culprit.
edit on 7-10-2013 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:07 PM
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reply to post by OrphanApology
 


They did list that in the source article. I think the problem is a combination of factors I don’t think we will find a singular event(magic bullet) that we can point to and say aha that’s the one. Like most things it will most likely be more complex than that.



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:12 PM
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Grimpachi
reply to post by OrphanApology
 


They did list that in the source article. I think the problem is a combination of factors I don’t think we will find a singular event(magic bullet) that we can point to and say aha that’s the one. Like most things it will most likely be more complex than that.


There was no trace of diesel in the study. It's likely a combination of agricultural chemicals that are causing the die offs.

It is a magic bullet, one that industry is going to fight tooth and nail. They were able to link directly eight separate chemicals that make the parasite likely to take over. That's not debate but direct correlation.

Trucks have been around for some time, so has their fumes. What hasn't been around is 21 different agricultural chemicals that are now killing bees.

Any story at this point that tries to bring up any nonsense cause for the bee die off is just trying to sway the public away from the uncomfortable reality. The reality is that bees are dying because of massive chemicals that weaken them and allow parasites to kill them.



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:12 PM
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Since the diesel engine has been around for over a century, regardless of its recent proliferation, I very much doubt that is what has been killing the bees over the past few years.

I think I'll stick with
neonicotinoids
as the true culprit.

I live within Ontario's most farmed area (Perth County) and the people I've talked to suspect the spring planting season of corn and beans. When the fields are dry for seeding, the dust raised contains the neonicotinoids and is spread over everything in the vicinity.



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:14 PM
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Sorry if I may be repeating something already said...

But whereas I can only think diesel fumes *are* part of the problem...

I cannot help but think that Monsanto and their poison is the accelerant here. We're talking about directly impacting the bee's food source. Gotta thank Monsanto, and the US Gov't for that.



-SN



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:14 PM
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I think produce and fruit fields go together with diesel engines about like...well, bees and pollen.


The fields exist for the purpose of marketing ...and 98% of everything being marketed is loading and leaving on trucks. The same docks, and the same general trucks for decades now. Same numbers too, for that matter. At least at the docks and in the sheds. Nothing there much changes as I saw in as a driver in the produce business.

This collapse is something a bit new though, relative to the century or so of trucks of one variety or another ..and modern trucks for a few decades at least. (The ones before now MUCH dirtier than anything allowed on the road right now for commercial trucking).

Diesel is an interesting idea...but I think it's a clear miss. I hope they keep at it though. Weren't chemicals and pesticides found to be a direct causative agent to this somewhere around the world?



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:18 PM
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If all humans "farted" exactly at the same time.... We can increase global warming 100 fold!



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:19 PM
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reply to post by rickymouse
 


The additive is a binding agent that attached to the nasty crap in the exhaust and breaks it down. So now instead of tons of pollution being pumped out by every truck, you get water.


What makes it kinda icky though is it's urea based. They take solid urea and dissolve it in deionized water. It then binds to the NOX that's popped out in the exhaust, and breaks it down.



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:35 PM
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To come to the finding, the group used extract from rapeseed flowers to create a scent that mimics the natural smell of several different flowers that the bees normally pollinate. In a sealed glass vessel, they mixed the scented air with diesel exhaust at a variety of concentrations, ranging from those that meet the EPA’s standards for ambient air quality to worst-case scenarios—concentrations of diesel pollutants (specifically the highly reactive NOx gases, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) that greatly exceed these standards but are commonly detected in urban areas.

At all concentrations, just one minute after they added the pollutants, gas chromatography testing revealed that two of the main flower-scented chemicals in the original blend were rendered undetectable, degraded by the nitrogen dioxide. Previously, they’d trained 30 honeybees to remember the flowers’ scent—by rewarding them with a sip of sucrose when they extended their proboscis in response to smelling it—but when the scent had been altered by the exposure to diesel fumes, just 30 percent of the bees were still able to recognize it and extend their proboscis. They confirmed that the NOx gases in particular were to blame by repeating the experiments with isolated versions of them, instead of the whole range of diesel pollutants, and arriving at the same results.


Read more: blogs.smithsonianmag.com...


To say it has no affect would be ignoring the science.
edit on 7-10-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:41 PM
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Grimpachi


To come to the finding, the group used extract from rapeseed flowers to create a scent that mimics the natural smell of several different flowers that the bees normally pollinate. In a sealed glass vessel, they mixed the scented air with diesel exhaust at a variety of concentrations, ranging from those that meet the EPA’s standards for ambient air quality to worst-case scenarios—concentrations of diesel pollutants (specifically the highly reactive NOx gases, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) that greatly exceed these standards but are commonly detected in urban areas.

At all concentrations, just one minute after they added the pollutants, gas chromatography testing revealed that two of the main flower-scented chemicals in the original blend were rendered undetectable, degraded by the nitrogen dioxide. Previously, they’d trained 30 honeybees to remember the flowers’ scent—by rewarding them with a sip of sucrose when they extended their proboscis in response to smelling it—but when the scent had been altered by the exposure to diesel fumes, just 30 percent of the bees were still able to recognize it and extend their proboscis. They confirmed that the NOx gases in particular were to blame by repeating the experiments with isolated versions of them, instead of the whole range of diesel pollutants, and arriving at the same results.


Read more: blogs.smithsonianmag.com...


To say it has no affect would be ignoring the science.
edit on 7-10-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)


The bee die off is not from them being unable to find flowers, it's from a parasite. I'm not really sure why you're linking to a Smithsonian blog about research that placed bees in the midst of high levels of diesel that inhibited their ability to smell flowers. The level of diesel in normal air would not be concentrated enough to inhibit their ability to find flowers...unless the bee colony sat directly under a Los Angeles highway. This seems like misinformation.

Again, that's not the cause of the die off. The cause is parasites that kill them. The reason that has now been isolated is fungicides and pesticides in high concentrations that are linked to susceptibility.



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:43 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Indeed.. It's just pure coincidence and happy luck that one of the largest hazmat issues facing the nation just a number of years back was animal waste from corporate farming by the millions of untreated gallons. Now...we have DEF..based on those millions of gallons of waste that was outright Hazardous Material class stuff until it got thrown into a law to require pumping into engines.

Pure coincidence tho.... Lucky for them, someone invented a use for what they had flooding the nation and no way to dispose of, eh?



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:45 PM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 



well yea,

In a sealed glass vessel,


in a sealed glass vessel i would imagine, that the scents would be masked / alterd.
that's a long way from out in the wide open sky.

i'm not saying is not possible, but that doesn't replicate normal conditions that the bees would be forging under.
and it said that 30% did recognize the scent, that seems to be a pretty good number for a sealed environment.



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:47 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Might as well put it to use. By the time it leaves my exhaust pipe it's no longer hazardous (well right now it might be, since I have a DPF Ash fault, but normally it isn't).



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:47 PM
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reply to post by OrphanApology
 


If you are looking for correlation try the second paragraph.



worker bees fail to return to the hive after their pollen-collecting trips nearby

edit on 7-10-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 7 2013 @ 12:49 PM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 


But bees don't navigate by scent. Unlike other insects a large part of bee navigation is by sight.





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