Exposure to pollution from diesel exhaust fumes can disrupt honeybees' ability to recognize the smells of flowers and could in future affect pollination and global food security, researchers said on Thursday.
In a study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, scientists from the University of Southampton found that the fumes change the profile of the floral odors that attract bees to forage from one flower to the next.
"Diesel exposure alters floral odours and it's a significant enough change in the chemistry to impact on the honeybee's ability to recognise that odour," said Dr Tracey Newman, a neuroscientist involved in the report.
Today's vote makes it crystal clear that there is overwhelming scientific, political and public support for a ban.
Those countries opposing a ban have failed. Now, the Commission must draw the only conclusion possible and immediately halt the use of these pesticides as a first step to protect European food production and ecosystem.
– Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director
A ban on pesticides feared to be killing bees was on the cards today after a majority of EU governments backed a move fiercely resisted by the UK coalition.
After a vote in Brussels, Greenpeace urged the European Commission to act swiftly to introduce the ban for at least two years on three pesticides the organisation says have been shown scientifically to be harmful to bees.