While some phenomena in nature appear to be random, there’s nothing accidental about how honey bees build their honeycombs. Scientists have wondered why bees create hexagons in the past, but the answer is always the same, no matter the hive or colony. Explore the logical reasons why bees make honeycombs shaped like hexagons.
Purposes for Honeycomb
As bees are so particular about building it, it goes to show that the honeycomb plays an essential role in how the colony functions. In fact, there are two fundamental purposes for the honeycomb.
The most well-known purpose of honeycomb is to store honey so that the colony has food to survive year round. Since plants and flowers aren’t always available for bees to collect pollen and nectar, they need a way to store as much food as possible to make it through to the next growing season.
The other essential role of the honeycomb is brood cells, where the queen bee lays her eggs to develop into larvae. The larvae stay inside these cells until they become fully functional bees, and then they will hatch to join the rest of the colony.
Perfect Puzzle Pieces
If bees started with one random shape, then they would have to build the second and third cells around it to avoid wasted space. However, this isn’t an efficient way to function. Bees make their combs with identically shaped hexagons so that they can all work together. Since all bees in the colony produce the same shape, there’s no room for error, and they conserve time by agreeing on one simple shape.
Compactibility is the Goal
Although bees could use squares or triangles to build their combs without leaving any space between them, they chose the hexagon instead. There is mathematical proof that hexagons produce a more compact structure than squares or triangles, and compactibility is necessary to store the maximum amount of honey in the limited space of a beehive.
Building a beehive requires a lot of work and skill, but bees seem to do this effortlessly. After learning why bees make honeycombs shaped like hexagons, you can most likely appreciate how logical and productive honey bees are. Check out Crystal’s Honey’s natural honeycomb for sale: it’s raw honey in its purest form and offers an unmatched unique flavor profile!