Abstract: We assessed the effect that electromagnetic field (EMF) exerts on honeybees’ pollination efficiency using field and laboratory experiments. First, we measured levels of gene and protein expression in metabolic pathways involved in stress and behavioral responses elicited by EMF.
Second, we assessed the effect of EMF on honeybee behavior and seed production by the honeybee-pollinated California poppy and, lastly, by measuring the consequences of pollination failure on plants’ community richness and abundance. EMF exposure exerted strong physiological stress on honeybees as shown by the enhanced expression of heat-shock proteins and genes involved in antioxidant activity and affected the expression levels of behavior-related genes.
Moreover, California poppy individuals growing near EMF received fewer honeybee visits and produced fewer seeds than plants growing far from EMF. Last, we found a hump-shaped relationship between EMF and plant species richness and plant abundance.
Our study provides conclusive evidence of detrimental impacts of EMF on honeybee’s pollination behavior, leading to negative effects on plant community.