In a field of winter wheat, researchers at the University of Readings donning farm in the UK had planted an unusual fumigation system: eight-meter octagons surrounding clusters of black mustard plants. Each eight-sided ring would pump out either ozone, diesel exhaust, a combination of the two, or nothing. The scientist’s goal was to test whether these common air pollutants would have an effect on the insects attracted to the mustard plant’s flowers. Nearby, field scientists trained in pollinator observation stood as still as possible, which recorded the number of insects visiting the flowers.
The result of this study was published in the Environmental Pollution found that those figures were dramatically lower in the rings emitting contaminants would have an effect on the insects visiting mustard flowers. The researchers did two separate counts. The first one counted the overall number of any kind of pollinator which flew into the rings and landed on the mustard flower. The number of insects declined by 69 percent for diesel and ozone alone! The second metric counted visits by four distinct species – bees, moths, butterflies, and hoverflies – and took into account how many flowers each individual insect landed on. Compared to the control, the number of flower landings decreased by 89 percent for diesel, 83 percent for ozone, and 90 percent for both.
So the population of insects is decreasing because of the pollutants we are emitting into the sky! Let’s stop this right now to save our planet and let insects have the freedom they deserve and not let them suffer.
Author: Sri Nihal Tammana
PC: Zsuzska321 via Pixabay