2
$\begingroup$

Why honey bees built hive in perfect hexagonal shape ?

Due to Hexagonal shape, I can go near without any anxious or fear.( Apart from Honey bee's stings)

From this Question, Most creatures look like or tries to look like irregular to fear the other creatures to attack.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What @iayork said. In plain English, they are making circular tube cells, but when placed so closely together, they form hexagons. Look at bubbles. Alone, they are round (perfect spheres), but the more bubbles are packed together, the forms will take on angled geometrical shapes, including perfect hexagons. It has nothing to do with fear, as hives are usually hidden. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Apr 11 '17 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ With reference to the honey bee cells how could a slight modification in structure provide a survival benefit. If two individuals were starving would the person who was given a few milligrams of extra food have a survival advantage? $\endgroup$ – Ralph Jul 29 '18 at 13:37
7
$\begingroup$

Why honey bees built hive in perfect hexagonal shape ?

Honeycomb cells (not the hive or the honeycomb itself) are hexagonal, in some species of bees but not all. The regularity of this shape has puzzled people for a long time, and Darwin (and others before him) addressed the reasons for it. Darwin did a series of experiments with bees, and summarized his results in Origin of Species. You can search for "hexagon" in the linked text for his long explanation, or read the (still long) summary 'Evolution of Honeycomb on the Darwin Correspondence Project, but the short explanation is that it's the most efficient way to pack cells without wasting wax, and Darwin identified a bunch of intermediate (less efficient) cell structures in various bee species that supported his hypothetized mode of evolution.

Thus, as I believe, the most wonderful of all known instincts, that of the hive-bee, can be explained by natural selection having taken advantage of numerous, successive, slight modifications of simpler instincts; natural selection having, by slow degrees, more and more perfectly led the bees to sweep equal spheres at a given distance from each other in a double layer, and to build up and excavate the wax along the planes of intersection. The bees, of course, no more knowing that they swept their spheres at one particular distance from each other, than they know what are the several angles of the hexagonal prisms and of the basal rhombic plates; the motive power of the process of natural selection having been the construction of cells of due strength and of the proper size and shape for the larvae, this being effected with the greatest possible economy of labour and wax; that individual swarm which thus made the best cells with least labour, and least waste of honey in the secretion of wax, having succeeded best, and having transmitted their newly-acquired economical instincts to new swarms, which in their turn will have had the best chance of succeeding in the struggle for existence.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

The bees don't make hexagonal cells. This paper shows how bees construct multiple cylindrical tubes which are then molded based on temperature and contact with other cells.
This shows transition from cylindrical cells (day 0) to hexagonal cells (day 2) for the bee *Apis melifera*.
As you can see, the cells start off cylindrical (day 0) and transform into the common hexagonal shape by day 2. The paper also goes into details of the physics involved (it is in a physics journal). I strongly suggest reading the paper if you wish to go more in depth.

$\endgroup$
-1
$\begingroup$

in "the origin of species" pages 178 and 179, Darwin has stated that if a bee could build a cell slightly more hexagonal than the other bees then this bee would have a survival benefit since a perfect hexagon is the most economical structure in storing the greatest amount of honey with the least amount of wax, but unfortunately there is nothing in his analysis that proves the point. He concludes on page 179 that the saving of wax by largely saving honey would be an important element in the success in any family of bees. The problem with that analysis is that a slight modification of structure in this case a slightly more regular hexagon cannot provide a survival benefit as the two structures are almost identical.(the old cell and the slightly modified cell)

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The problem with that analysis is that a slight modification of structure in this case a slightly more regular hexagon cannot provide a survival benefit ... This is not a site where your unsupported opinion is considered a useful answer. Please supply references for this (that don't come from the deliberate liars associated with "intelligent design" and other religious dogmatists). $\endgroup$ – iayork Jul 8 '18 at 18:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.