BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Researchers discovered a new threat to bees and pollination. It seems that artificial lights greatly affect the activity of nocturnal pollinators. Moreover, if the phenomenon persists, it might even expand to diurnal pollinators as well.
Pollination is in great danger, especially since bee populations have started decreasing. However, new research shows this is not the only threat it has to face. Artificial lights can disturb nocturnal pollinators and greatly disturb their activity.
Artificial lights reduce the number of nocturnal pollinators
Researchers from the University of Bern, Switzerland, decided to see how light pollution influences them, and developed a study which has been published in the journal Nature. This is how they found out that not only nocturnal pollinators, but also diurnal ones might feel some indirect effects of this kind of pollution.
For this study, researchers installed some mobile streetlamps and studied how they influenced the activity of nocturnal pollinators. They lit seven plots in the Swiss pre-Alps with these artificial lighting providers, and left the other seven in darkness. Then, they observed how 62 percent fewer insects went to the lit plots. Also, those which visited the illuminated area had a smaller diversity by 29 percent.
Even diurnal pollinators feel the effects of light pollution
What is even more worrying is the fact that not only nocturnal pollinators are impacted by artificial illumination. Although they don’t feel the direct effects of streetlamps, diurnal pollinators are also influenced. Since nocturnal insects got fewer, the diurnal ones have it hard to make up for the lost pollination.
However, researchers need more research to see the exact impact artificial lights have on daytime pollinators. Only after will they be able to see how the entire process of pollination gets affected. Even so, this is a big warning that we should intervene and limit the areas with artificial lighting as much as possible.
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