Scientists in Southampton have discovered that honeybees’ ability to find flowers could be hampered by a chemical in diesel exhaust.
A chemical called NOx, present in diesel exhaust, affected the insects’ response to these scents.
The researchers used a sort of bee “sniff test”, known as the proboscis extension reflex test, to see how sensitive the bees were to floral scents.
This footage, of a version of this experiment being carried out by scientists at the University of California San Diego, shows how the experiment works. The bees are given a drop of sugary liquid and respond by sticking out their tongues.
By pairing the sugary reward with a particular smell, the bees can be trained (or conditioned) to respond to a particular scent by sticking out their tongues.
Footage courtesy of Daren Eiri