Home » Science » The holes in honeycombs don’t actually start out as hexagons. Bees create circular tubes staggered with one another. The heat formed by the activity of the bees softens the wax, which connects the gaps between the holes. Then the wax hardens into the the most energy efficient shape, the hexagon.

The holes in honeycombs don’t actually start out as hexagons. Bees create circular tubes staggered with one another. The heat formed by the activity of the bees softens the wax, which connects the gaps between the holes. Then the wax hardens into the the most energy efficient shape, the hexagon.

Scientists explain the amazing process by which bees make hexagonal honeycombs.

Ever wonder how bees make all those hexagons in their honeycombs? It’s not one wall at a time, which might be your first guess. Need a hint? The holes in the honeycomb don’t actually start out as hexagons! In fact, according to this study, the bees make each hole as a circular tube in a precise staggered organization (Figure 1, below). The heat formed by the activity of the bees softens the wax, which creeps along the network between the holes. The wax hardens in the most energetically favorable configuration, which happens to be the rounded hexagonal pattern that honeycomb is famous for. Sweet!

“We report that the cells in a natural honeybee comb have a circular shape at ‘birth’ but quickly transform into the familiar rounded hexagonal… Continue Reading (1 minute read)

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