Transmission towers emit electromagnetic fields that can disrupt honeybees’ ability to pollinate nearby plants, which could reduce biodiversity in these areas.
The electromagnetic fields emitted from transmission towers – like those that support overhead power lines that transport power from energy plants to cities – mess with honeybees’ pollinating abilities. This disruption could have a significant impact on the biodiversity in these environments as well.
Honeybees often rely on natural electromagnetic fields (EMFs) to navigate their surroundings – they have a specialised magnetoreception system in their abdomens. A growing body of research has already suggested that exposure to artificial EMFs can be disorienting for honeybees, sometimes causing them to get lost on their way home from foraging, and even leaving entire colonies without enough foragers to survive in some cases.
Gabriel Ballesteros at the University of Talca in Chile, and his colleagues exposed 100 honeybees (Apis mellifera) to different levels of high-voltage, low-frequency EMFs in a lab for 3 minutes at a time. Compared with honeybees exposed to low levels, those subjected to more intense EMFs produced about 50 per cent more heat-shock proteins – normally elicited by high heat, these molecules protect cells from stress.
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