Wild bees are building their homes from plastic—and scientists aren’t sure why
When tasked with making their unique nests, Argentina’s solitary bees are now choosing plastic.
Wild bees, nesting in Argentinian crop fields, were recently found constructing nests entirely made of the flimsy plastic packaging material left on farms.
From 2017 to 2018, researchers at Argentina's National Agricultural Technology Institute crafted wooden, artificial nests for wild bees. Unlike bee species that have a large hive with queens and workers, wild bees burrow into nests to individually lay larvae. The constructed nests fit together like long rectangles with a narrow, hollow opening that allowed wild bees to crawl inside and fill it with cut leaves, twigs, and mud.
Sixty-three wooden nests were constructed, and three were found lined entirely with plastic. Similar in size and shape to a fingernail, the bits of plastic had been carefully cut by