What material is it best to use to build the cells?
- What material is it best to use to build the cells?
- What shape will divide the hive into manageable cells?
- What shape gives the maximum amount of usable storage space?
- What shape required the minimum effort in terms of labour?
- What shape required the minimum effort in terms of material?
- What shape will produce a strong structure?
The hive has to be divided into cells because:
- Chewed Paper Pulp
- Used by many insects.
- Becomes soft if wet - not suitable for honey.
- Malleable at hive temperature.
- Will hold wet honey.
- BUT energy expensive to make.
- Hive has to have areas for raising brood.
- Individual cells allow for larvae in different stages
- Individual cells allow for honey in different stages
How do they make hexagons?
- Hexagons have 6 sides and bees have 6 legs!
- This is now not believed.
- Hexagons tile well - as do squares and triangles.
- Hexagons provide
- the maximum amount of storage space
- the maximum amount of wall stuck to adjacent cells
- the mimimum amount of wax.
- This is known as the "Honeycomb Conjecture"
The back of the cell
- They start circular.
- Each bee pushes out he wall of the cell it is making.
- if each bee pushes the same amount the result is a hexagon.
- Warm wax will flow into a hexagonal shape.
- Wax being manipulated by bees is at 33.6–37.6C
- Wax does not melt until 40C
- Does it get warm enough to flow?
- Bee cells are constructed as two sheets back to back.
- All the cells slope up to the entrance by about 13°
- This prevents the honey dripping out.
- The back of the cell is trihedral - consisting of three planes
- Each plane is the section of a rhombic dodecahedra.