Bees use discarded plastic to build nests, study finds

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:28 PM ET

A new Ontario study has found some honey bees are adapting to plastic waste in their environment by incorporating it into their nests.

It's not that the bees are accidentally using the plastic. The researchers from the University of Guelph and York University found the insects treat it differently than the plant-based materials they would normally use.

The researchers found a grey goo in nest boxes located in Toronto backyards, community gardens, parks and on green roofs. Analysis of the goo revealed the bees were chewing up plastic and spitting it out to help build their nests.

"We found two solitary bee species using plastic in place of natural nest building materials, which suggests innovative use of common urban materials," researcher Scott MacIvor said in a press release.

The use of plastic didn't interfere with larvae development, and also meant the bees' nests were a barrier to parasites in the area.

The study appears in the journal Ecosphere.


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