Research confirms negative effects of power lines on bees – Environmental Health Trust


Research confirms negative effects of power lines on bees

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The study, carried out by the University of Talca, accounts for the damage caused by cell phone antennas and power lines to pollinators, which could explain the decline in this population.

Author: Camila Bauer | 13 April 2022Concern is caused in the world by the crisis of pollinators, who have suffered a significant reduction in their population. A study carried out by the University of Talca would shed light on this phenomenon and how we can help reverse it.

The responsible researcher and academic from the Institute of Biological Sciences, Marco Molina, explained that “the study consisted of evaluating how the electromagnetic fields emitted by different devices, for example, high-tension lines of electricity towers, as well as cellular antennas, they generate a stress factor in pollinators, in this case in bees”.

The investigation was able to determine that when these insects are in the vicinity of this type of radiation, they generate an increase in negative substances. “They produce an increase in stress-related enzymes such as ornithine decarboxylase. We have also found other indications that have to do with the increase in “heat shot proteins”, which are indicators of stress”, explained the academic.

This produces detrimental consequences for the pollination process and, therefore, food production. According to the researcher, “every time a bee approaches a power line or a cell phone antenna, it becomes stressed and, therefore, its internal temperature increases and the pollination service decreases.”

This effect would be increased when the electromagnetic fields are close to planting sectors. “We realized that all those crops that are close to the power lines remain unpollinated, which has repercussions in a decrease in food production, therefore, putting at risk what is the safety food,” said Molina.

bee care

The protection of these pollinating insects is vital for the protection of life on Earth. Chile is already moving towards regulations that ensure the survival of bees.

“A couple of weeks ago we were invited to the Senate, specifically to the Environment Committee, because this information is going to be used to formulate some laws or restrictions,” explained Molina. The scientist added that, in addition, “the Constitutional Convention is currently considering these results in order to issue some regulations that have to do with power lines in agricultural areas.”

Among the options that are proposed to prevent damage to bees, is establishing underground pathways for electrical wiring or increasing the distances between them. “The electromagnetic field of all these devices has an extinction rate of 20 meters, therefore, if one can distance the towers or position the antennas in a place 20 meters higher than they are, the electromagnetic field decreases in such a way that could be almost innocuous for bees” assured the teacher.