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Light Pollution: The Latest Threat to Pollinators
Artificial Lighting Disrupts Nocturnal Pollinators

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When it comes to the decline of pollinators, the focus is always bees and butterflies. But, nighttime pollinators, including moths and some species of beetle, have been negatively impacted by light pollution.


The decline of bees and butterflies is well documented, but nocturnal pollinators, including moths and some beetles, are less studied. A research group from the University of Bern in Switzerland recently conducted a study to see if night lighting has an impact on nocturnal pollinators.

Acknowledging that light sensitive insects may have already disappeared from areas with high levels of light pollution, the researchers took to the foothills of the Alps. After setting up temporary street lights with the same standard LEDs used in public places, the researchers put on night vision glasses and counted how many pollinators came to the lit areas as opposed to the unlit areas.

They observed almost 300 insect species visiting about 60 plant species in the areas without artificial light sources, but in the meadows with the streetlights, pollination visits were 62 percent lower. Additionally, at the end of the study, the cabbage thistle observed in the artificial light had a 13 percent reduction in the number of fruits per plant, showing that daytime pollinators were not able to make up for the reduced nighttime pollination.

The study was published in the journal Nature and can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/y76dnpab.







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August 20, 2017, 9:32 pm PDT

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Last Updated 08-21-17