Bangalore is one of the most polluted cities in India and now researchers are looking at whether air pollution could be affecting honey bee populations in the city. The scientists focused on the giant Asian honey bee Apis dorsata which is one of the largest bees in the world at 17 – 20 mm (0.7–0.8 inches) long. This bee is not domesticated or kept in hives, they form large colonies that hang from trees and rock faces (one of its common names is the ‘rock bee’) and can be found attached to buildings in cities. It has aggressive defence strategies and a painful sting, nevertheless, indigenous people frequently collect the honey by ‘honey hunting’ which is a skilled and ancient tradition.
The research showed that bees from heavily polluted sites died faster were partly covered in traces of arsenic and lead, that they had arrhythmic heartbeats, fewer immune cells, and were more likely to show signs of stress.
You can read a summary and analysis of the paper by our team in The Conversation here https://theconversation.com/air-pollution-could-be-making-honey-bees-sick-new-study-144155
Or the original paper here https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2009074117