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Tetragonula Bees Make Spiraling Hives That Resemble Crystals. We Now Know Why

Image for representation

Image for representation

Stingless bees of the genus Tetragonula create a brood comb with a three-dimensional spiral or goal template architecture. Crystals on the molecular scale exhibit these same shapes.

Nature has its own ways of doing things that we as human beings cannot possibly imagine.

The latest addition in this category is a type of bee.

This particular kind of bees create intricate spirals, bullseye, and other irregularly-shaped beehives.

Tetragonula bees are usually found in Southeast Asia and Australia. This type of bees doesn't sting.

According to a report published in Science Alert, a team of researchers has now investigated as to how exactly do these bees make these patterns. This investigation was done using mathematical models.

During the research, it was discovered that the hive these bees made had a striking resemblance to the formation of crystals.

Physicist Julyan Cartwright, who is one of the researchers, has stressed upon the similarity of pattern between the crystal and the hive.

He told Science Alert, “We were able to take ideas we had developed from looking at crystal growth and at how mollusks make nacre (mother of pearl), both of which show very similar spiral and target patterns to the bees' ones.”

It must also be noted that the research cannot determine the reason behind the bees doing this as it is entirely based on mathematical models. As per the study, the bees use something called the local information to create these patterned hives.

Explaining what local information means the Physicist said, “The equivalent for us humans would be to build a house brick by brick without an architect's plan.”