Translate to multiple languages

Subscribe to my Email updates
Enjoy what you've read, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Scientists Crack the Mathematical Mystery of Stingless Bees’ Spiral Honeycombs | New Research - Smithsonian Magazine

Theresa Machemer, freelance writer based in Washington DC. said, The waxy architectural wonders seem to grow like crystals.

Mathematically speaking, the honeycombs grow like crystals.
Photo: Tim Heard via Royal Society Publishing
The same mathematical model that explains how crystals grow can also explain how tropical stingless bees build honeycombs in spiraling, multi-terraced shapes, according to a study published on Wednesday in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Bees from the genus Tetragonula specialize in sophisticated feats of architecture built from hexagonal beeswax cells. Each individual cell is both the landing spot for an egg and a building block for structures that can grow up to 20 levels high, Brandon Specktor reports for Live Science. Stingless bees’ hives can come in several shapes, including stacks of circles in a bulls-eye, a spiral, a double spiral, and a group of disorderly terraces.

How and why bees build the complex shapes without any blueprints has perplexed scientists, but the researchers show that each individual bee might be following a few simple rules... 

But at its core, the computer model shows that the bees’ patterns are still based on the essential chemical rules that govern all matter on Earth.

“Crystal growth and bee comb construction are two systems operating within very different spheres of science,” the researchers write in their paper. “So what leads to the similar structures? This is the beauty of the applicability of mathematics to nature.”

Source: Smithsonian Magazine