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Study: Bees Using Plastic To Help Build Their Nests

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Researchers found bees using bits of plastic to build their hives.  (credit: Alison Dunn/Getty Images)

Researchers found bees using bits of plastic to build their hives. (credit: Alison Dunn/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – According to a new study, wild bees are using bits of plastic waste to build their nests.

“Plastic waste pervades the global landscape,” wrote Scott Maclvor, York University Faculty of Science PhD Candidate, and the study’s author. “Although adverse impacts on both species and ecosystems have been documented, there are few observations of behavioral flexibility and adaptation in species, especially insects, to increasingly plastic-risk environments.”

Maclvor found the bees were using plastic into their nests. One of the species studied, the alfalfa leafcutter, usually bites off pieces of leaves and flowers to makes its nest but was found to have used pieces of plastic. Another species, the Megachile campanulae, usually gathers resins and saps from trees for its nests.

“It is interesting to note that both bee species, the type of plastic used structurally reflects the native nesting material, suggesting that nesting material structure is more important than chemical or other innate traits of the material,” he added in the study.

Maclvor led an investigation and found that more than 200 next used by a variety of bee species have had part of plastic being used to build a nest.

The study was published in the journal Ecosphere.

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