Wax worms...They're not just for fishing any more!!


MaryMary

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A scientist and amateur beekeeper removed an infestation of wax worms from her beehive, and collected them in a plastic bag. When she returned an hour later, the worms had eaten holes in the bag! Wax worms are a parasite that eat the wax in beehives. It turns out, the same enzymes that enable them to eat wax, also enable them to eat polyethylene bags. (y) So now, they are trying to isolate the enzyme responsible! :cool:



When the team exposed about 100 wax worms to a plastic shopping bag, holes started to appear after 40 minutes, with a reduction of 92mg after 12 hours. To compare: plastic-eating bacteria biodegraded plastic at a rate of 0.13mg a day, and it takes 100 to 400 years to degrade polyethylene in landfill. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-26/common-catepillar-can-eat-plastic-bags-at-high-speeds/8472368

The grubs appear to breakdown polyethylene with the same enzymes they use for eating beeswax. To confirm that the worms were not simply chewing the plastic into smaller pieces, the scientists mashed some of them up and smeared the grub paste on plastic bags. Again, according to the study in Current Biology, holes appeared. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/24/plastic-munching-worms-could-help-wage-war-on-waste-galleria-mellonella


Ew... grub paste...:sick:



Edited to add - @Becky, @Ian, @zigs - if this belongs in the Chat forum instead, sorry!! :oops:
 
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Thanks Mary. Anything we can do to help the honeybees is a good thing. I haven't found any waxworms on our property yet but I will now keep an eye open for them. I have a beekeeper dropping off a hive the last week of March to set up in the wild blackberries.
 
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alp

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Perhaps, we could collect all the unwanted plastic bags and feed them to the worms.. What an interesting article, @MaryMary !
 
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Fascinating! Sounds like it has great potential as a way to deal with unrecycled plastic (y)
 
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alp

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Fascinating! Sounds like it has great potential as a way to deal with unrecycled plastic (y)
Soon the government will give these worms a contract, not another PFI!:LOL:
 

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