Science Daily 2/11/12
Once the snow melts, bees will be back in business -- pollinating, making honey and keeping busy doing bee things. For at least two urban bee species, that means making nests out of plastic waste. A new study reveals that some bees use bits of plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests.
A new study by a University of Guelph graduate and a U of G scientist reveals that some bees use bits of plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests. The research was published recently in the journal Ecosphere.
It's an important discovery because it shows bees' resourcefulness and flexibility in adapting to a human-dominated world, says lead author Scott MacIvor, a doctoral student at York University and a 2008 U of G graduate.
"Plastic waste pervades the global landscape," said MacIvor. Although researchers have shown adverse impacts of the material on species and the ecosystem, few scientists have observed insects adapting to a plastic-rich environment, he said.
"We found two solitary bee species using plastic in place of natural nest building materials, which suggests innovative use of common urban materials.
Figuring out that the bees were...