Lidija Grozdanic

Bee Colony Adapts to Human Environmental Impact by Using Plastic to Build Nests

by , 01/27/14

bees plastic nests, bees behavior, bee colony Toronto, York University researchers, York University bee research, Ecosphere journal, biological study, environmental destruction

Insects are adjusting to climate change and human waste in incredible ways, one of which was noted in a recent study written by York University biologists. Bees are using plastic waste to build nests – a new type of behavior considering that bees usually use only natural materials. The observed bee colony incorporated glossy white plastic in their nest, replacing about 23 percent of the leaves they normally use.

bees plastic nests, bees behavior, bee colony Toronto, York University researchers, York University bee research, Ecosphere journal, biological study, environmental destruction

A team led by York University PhD candidate Scott Maclvor set up “trap nests” and observed the behavior of an alfalfa leafcutter bee colony in Toronto. Upon inspection of the nesting tubes the researchers were surprised to discover a piece of white plastic bag incorporated into the cavity. This bee species, which usually collects resin, seems to have adapted man-made materials into their habitats.

The artificial material hasn’t necessarily affected the health of bees in a negative way. However, the plastic material didn’t behave in the same way as leaves, which stick together with ease and some of this plastic waste has been shown to prevent bees from breathing as they normally would.

While many are going extinct, some animal species are showing a remarkable ability to adapt to environmental changes and the negative consequences of human impact on the planet. With their newly developed building techniques, urban bees seem to be at the forefront of this trend.

+ Study published in Ecosphere

Via Motherboard

Lead image by Flickr user jon.hayes

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
What are you looking for? (Solar, HVAC, etc.)
Where are you located?