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NEW DISCOVERY: Urban bees are now using PLASTIC to build hives!

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posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 01:46 PM
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Urban bees are using PLASTIC to build hives
www.dailymail.co.uk...



Research from the University of Guelph has revealed some urban bees have resorted to using small pieces of plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests.

The plastic is used as a substitute for plant resins and researchers claim it highlights the 'bees' resourcefulness and flexibility in adapting to a human-dominated world.'

They found two solitary bee species using plastic in place of natural nest building materials.

The first bee, Megachile campanulae, traditionally uses plant resins to build its nests, yet MacIvor found evidence of a grey ‘goo’ in the bees’ boxes, which he initially believed to be chewing gum.

He discovered that the M. campanulae was occasionally replacing plant resins with polyurethane-based exterior building sealant, such as caulking, in its brood cells, created in a nest to rear larva.

The researchers also discovered another kind of bee, Megachile rotundata, an alfalfa leafcutter, was using pieces of polyethylene-based plastic bags to construct its brood cells.The glossy plastic replaced almost a quarter of the cut leaves normally used to build each cell.

Markings showed that the bees chewed the plastic differently than they did leaves, suggesting that the insects had not collected the plastic by mistake. Nor were was there a shortage of leaves for the bees in the study.

‘The plastic materials had been gathered by the bees, and then worked - chewed up and spat out like gum - to form something new that they could use,’ Moore said.

In both cases, larvae successfully developed from the plastic-lined nests. In fact, the bees emerged parasite-free, suggesting plastic nests may physically impede parasites, according to the study.

The nests containing plastic were among more than 200 artificial nest boxes monitored by MacIvor as part of a large-scale investigation of the ecology of urban bees and wasps, a project involving numerous citizen scientists.

‘The novel use of plastics in the nests of bees could reflect the ecologically adaptive traits necessary for survival in an increasingly human-dominated environment,’ MacIvor said.






edit on 12-2-2014 by Skywatcher2011 because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 01:48 PM
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When I first read this, I was like woh....bees are now finding ways of adapting to the changing world and are becoming smarter against warding off predators. I think it is cool they found a way to help Mother Earth recycle man made pollutants. Wish that humans would care the same way.

Other than that, I wonder what else these bees are going to learn next? Stay tuned I guess



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 03:19 PM
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reply to post by Skywatcher2011
 


Interesting. I think wasps and/or hornets have been using plastic for a long time too. But especially with bees, I worry about toxin-exposure from the plastic. Won't be good in the long term.


F&S



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 04:41 PM
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Skywatcher2011
When I first read this, I was like woh....bees are now finding ways of adapting to the changing world and are becoming smarter against warding off predators. I think it is cool they found a way to help Mother Earth recycle man made pollutants. Wish that humans would care the same way.

Other than that, I wonder what else these bees are going to learn next? Stay tuned I guess


How do you know that is not the way the earth wanted it? Maybe the Earth wants plastic? Sort of find it telling that NATURE is using it...



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 07:22 PM
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Nether of these bees are honey bees and make no honey sold to the public.

line two.



posted on Feb, 13 2014 @ 01:34 AM
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ANNED
Nether of these bees are honey bees and make no honey sold to the public.

line two.


The are known as "leaf-cutter" bees. They do not produce honey to be used for human consumption.

The point of this discovery is that bees (in general) are finding ways to adapt to the human dominated planet.

If these bees are using alternative construction methods for their hives, who is to say that domesticated honey bees won't start using this method; there is even a possibility that wild honey bees may pick up this alternative as well...don't you think?



posted on Feb, 13 2014 @ 06:23 AM
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ANNED
Nether of these bees are honey bees and make no honey sold to the public.

line two.


Where did they say these bees were honey bees? The op states the species clearly.
Your post has to be the most ignorant I've seen in a while.

Just because we cannot get honey from them does not mean they are not vital to us. Do you see the picture? On it's legs? That's what you would call pollen, one of the most important substances known to humans. While they can't feed us with honey, that single bee can pollinate enough plants to feed your family.

Showing that they are versatile enough to start using plastic along with mud and plant materials means that they will adapt along side us. Feeding us for centuries more, recycling what we don't for the greater good of the earth.

So no these are not honey bees, but what I see is something much greater than that, a tiny creature that carries a big impact on every one of our lives.



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