We write about bees a lot, and we’re starting to think they might be reading. We’re always advocating for the use of greener building techniques, like recycling waste materials, and it seems like the bees have taken that to heart. At least, according to a new study, they’re finding plastic waste and using it to build their nests, Motherboard reports:
The bees they looked at usually build nests in cavities above the ground, and depending on the species, they construct them out of various natural materials such as leaves, mud, and even small pebbles. But as the bees got on with their work, the researchers noticed a few more modern materials making their way into the nests. “It was during inspection of the nesting tubes we discovered non-natural materials built into the nests of two different bee species,” they said.
Basically, the bees are finding different types of plastic that resemble the materials they usually use — leaves or resin, for example — and building their nests with it. And it looks like they’re not just doing this because the natural materials aren’t available:
For the leafcutter bee, they found markings on the plastic materials that showed it chewed them differently to leaves. It also returned to leaf material after using a few bag fragments, which suggested leaf availability wasn’t a limiting factor.
Maybe they’re just tired of finding the plastic everywhere and trying to do their part. Humans could learn something from that.