Bees have begun building nests out of plastic trash and scientists have yet to figure out why.
Wild bees in Argentina crop fields were found building nests out of plastic. From 2017 to 2018, researchers at Argentina’s National Agricultural Tech Institute created artificial wooden nests for the bees. Of the 63 nests scientists constructed, three were found lined entirely with plastic.
Researchers believe the bees used nearby plastic bags or film.
“I think it’s really sad,” Entomologist Hollis Woodard said. “It’s another example of the rampant use of materials that end up in places don’t intend them to.”
In 2013, a similar study was conducted in Toronto, where bees not only lined their nests with plastic, but also used plastic as a bonding agent instead of common plant resin.
“It would demonstrate the adaptive flexibility that certain species of bees would have in the face of changes in environmental conditions,” the study’s author Mariana Allasino explained.
More research needs to be done before scientists can determine plastics potential impact on bees. Micro plastics are dangerous to the animals that mistake them for food. However, there is no evidence that indicates that bees are consuming plastic.
Some researchers speculate that plastic might work as a defense against common nest issues, like mold and parasites.