It’s a buzz…seriously! In Germany, an innovative approach to indoor air quality (IAQ) measurement is being introduced to several airports around the country. The retro-technology, called “biomonitoring,” uses live honeybees to gauge air pollution levels from jet exhaust and ground transportation vehicles used in and around the facilities. The honey is taken from these bees is then tested for impurities.
From Yale Environment 360:
In a recent test of honey collected from some 200,000 honeybees, officials confirmed that levels of some hydrocarbons and heavy metals were well below national safety standards. The honey, called Düsseldorf Natural, is then given away as gifts. While some community groups in the U.S. and elsewhere have expressed concerns about air pollution levels at airports, industry groups insist that tighter oversight and improved energy efficiency in recent decades have significantly lowered air pollution from jet exhaust.
Tanya Mohn of the New York Times reports:
Assessing environmental health using bees as “terrestrial bioindicators“ is a fairly new undertaking, said Jamie Ellis, assistant professor of entomology at the Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory, University of Florida in Gainesville. “We all believe it can be done, but translating the results into real-world solutions or answers may be a little premature.” Still, similar work with insects to gauge water quality has long been successful.