Beehives are typically comprised of parallel layers of honeycombs, like an office building filled with cubicles. But in Australia, a bee species known as Tetragonula carbonaria, a/k/a sugarbag bees, build their hives in a single-layer spiral, like they're imitating the Guggenheim.
Why do they build them this way? National Geographic has a rather unsatisfying answer:
[Australian entomologist Tim] Heard says no one's quite sure why carbonarias make their hives in spiral formations, but the architecture could help queen bees navigate them easier. It could also make for better air circulation, because generally, other bee colonies are not well ventilated.
So the queen is lazy and/or these bees are really into HVAC. In any case these sugarbags, which are also stingless (but can bite) have security against both germs and intruders designed right into the structure:
Carbonaria bee hives only have one entrance, which is heavily protected by guard bees and a mix of sticky resins. Antibacterial properties from the resin clean any pathogens from the bees as they enter the hive, like a sticky welcome mat. The substance also keeps out predators such as ants, like a moat.
That's pretty nifty.
You can learn more about sugarbag bees at Heard's website.
Don't have an account? Join Now
Create a Core77 Account
Already have an account? Sign In
Please enter your email and we will send an email to reset your password.
I'm a Florida beekeeper and really love this article. Bees Rock! They're our main life-line to our national/worldwide food source via their inate pollination habits. You gotta love em!