Microplastic fragments and fibres have been found in honey samples and honeybees, but little is known about their impact on bee health.
Researchers conducted a novel experiment to investigate the potential toxicity of irregularly shaped polystyrene fragments on honeybee health. Over a period of 14 days, they exposed bees to small (27 ± 17 µm) or large (93 ± 25 µm) polystyrene fragments at varying concentrations (1, 10, 100 µg mL−1), and studied bee mortality, food consumption and body weight.
They found no effect on honeybee survival, but report reduced feeding rate and body weight, which could affect honeybee fitness long-term by disrupting life history traits, reproduction and mortality.
Read the full paper:
Al Naggar, Y.; Sayes, C.M.; Collom, C.; Ayorinde, T.; Qi, S.; El-Seedi, H.R.; Paxton, R.J. & Wang, K. (2023) Chronic Exposure to Polystyrene Microplastic Fragments Has No Effect on Honey Bee Survival, but Reduces Feeding Rate and Body Weight. Toxics, 11, 100. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11020100