A recent study has reported that some bees have begun to use plastic to build their hives. This is a really interesting finding that can help a lot in recycling plastic. The results have also been published in a reputed recycling journal.
Plastic is drastically affecting the environment across the globe. It accumulates in lakes and oceans, and can even affect wildlife negatively. The good thing is that some animals can help in recycling plastic such as hermit crabs and bowerbirds. Now bees have also been added to the list.
Though bees are playing their part, overall, their contribution is still not that significant. What must be admired is the fact in which they are utilizing manmade plastic and making efforts to recycle it.
The researchers state that plastic waste can be found all over the world and is drastically impacting ecosystems and species. This is something which has been noted by many studies but what they fail to note is the fact that nature is also helping in recycling plastic.
As of now, two types of bees have been observed using plastic for building their nests. The type of plastic, which these bees use, is actually very similar to the materials they use for their nest. This practice is being performed by leathercuff bees which are different form honey bees. They neither live in huge colonies nor store honey. Instead, they prefer small nests that are often located in small holes, tiny crevices and cavities in trees.
Alfalfa leafcutter which is a species of leathercuff bees, makes it nest from the flowers and leaves. However, studies have observed fragments of plastic bags in these nests, which account for nearly 23% of the materials. Researchers also pointed out the consistency and color of plastic was the same as other materials from which the nest was made. Alfalfa leafcutter also does not produce honey, but it helps farmers. It pollinates different crops such as melon, canola and carrots.
Megachile campanulae, is another bee, which is now using plastic for making its nest.
Plastic in a bees nest is both advantageous and disadvantageous. It does prevent parasite outbreaks, but it also lets moisture build up, which leads to mold growth, and ultimately the death of bees.