Electromagnetic fields from power lines are affecting bees -Dlight News

Electromagnetic fields from power lines are affecting bees

Electromagnetic fields emitted by transmission towers, such as those that support overhead power lines that carry power from power plants to cities, interfere with the pollinating ability of bees. This disruption could also have a significant impact on biodiversity in these settings.

Bees often rely on natural electromagnetic fields (EMFs) to navigate their environment: they have a specialized magnetoreception system in their abdomens. A growing body of research has already suggested that exposure to artificial electromagnetic fields can disorient bees, sometimes causing them to get lost on their way home after foraging and even leaving entire colonies without enough foragers to survive in some. cases.

gabriel ballesteros at the University of Talca in Chile, and colleagues exposed 100 bees (Apis mellifera) at different levels of high-voltage, low-frequency electromagnetic fields in a laboratory for 3 minutes at a time. Compared with bees exposed to low levels, those subjected to stronger electromagnetic fields produced about 50 percent more heat shock proteins; Normally triggered by high temperatures, these molecules protect cells from stress. The researchers also observed a significant decrease in the expression levels of genes associated with the bees’ abilities to forage, form memories, and navigate.

The researchers also observed bees in the wild in Quinamávida, Chile, and compared populations in areas with active or inactive power lines. They found that, for selected bees near active transmission towers, the number of heat shock proteins doubled after just 5 minutes. Bees near active high-voltage pylons also visited surrounding California poppy plants (Eschscholzia californica) only one third of the frequency than those not exposed to electromagnetic fields.

“The bees avoided the flowers that were located in the vicinity of the overhead lines,” says Ballesteros. “They kind of flew into the flowers, but then they just want to stay away.” He says that plant populations were also less varied and abundant in those same areas.

This might not be the whole picture, depending on henry lai and his colleague B.Blake Levitt at the University of Washington in Seattle, who have studied the effects of electromagnetic fields on plants and animals. They say the study only looks at one type of EMF exposure in nature, but today it’s rare to find an environment with only one source of EMF. For example, cell phone antennas that emit radiofrequency radiation are sometimes mounted directly to power transmission pylons, so bees often experience multiple frequency exposures. Even the emissions from the researchers’ cell phones, if they’re in active call mode, could make a difference, and the researchers didn’t note if cell phone towers were located nearby. Levitt and Lai also note that the study does not mention whether field sites near the towers have been tested for pesticides, which are commonly used to keep those areas clear of vegetation and could affect bees.

Source link