Scientists Are Baffled Why This Group Of Bees Built A Spiral Nest

Posted on Saturday, 25th May 2019 @ 03:23 PM by Text Size A | A | A

Spread the love

By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Of the 20,000 varieties of bees in existence, the Australian Tetragonula carbonaria is one of the 500 varieties without a stinger. Do you think that makes them defenceless? Well, think again.

If any bug or insect tries to mess with this bee, it gets sprayed with a mixture of wax, plant resin, and mud- thereby being mummified alive. In fact, these bees are known for being in long drawn out battles with other such stingerless neighbors, that lead to bee casualties, a regular coup d’etat.

Why such possessiveness, you might ask. Well, after seeing the hive they construct, you wouldn’t anymore. A reddit sub displayed a picture of T. Carbonaria rearing the young in spiral-shaped towers called brood combs, that have thousands of eggs interlinked to each other on the staircase like structure.

Tim Heard of CSIRO (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) mentions that the photo on Reddit is simply a single layer of the hive. There could be at least 10-20 layers in all if it was fully developed. One layer, as the photo displayed, is a part of a continuous spiral structure.

The tiny circular pods that make up the comb are the brood cells. This is where the bees develop from eggs to a full-grown bee in 50 days. This has all been mentioned in Heard’s book “The Australian Native Bee Book”. These cells are created through the secretions of wax from the abdominal glands of worker bees, which then get mixed with the plant resin. This forms a cement-like material called cerumen.

After construction, the cells are provided with provisions as the nurse bees regurgitate enough nutrients for a bee to grow completely. After that, the Queen bee lays eggs on all the provisions. And at the end of it all, the cells are capped off, so that the bees can grow in a closed environment.

As one cell gets constructed, worker bees move onto the next. They keep building cells, in a spiral shape. And, as the bees grow up and leave the cells, one can actually see the retreating edge or the empty cavities that they leave behind. The exit usually starts from the center, and the trail moves outwards.

Even though the cavity keeps on increasing at the lower levels, worker bees keep on building over them. Heard figures that if the Queen had enough eggs to lay, the entire community would live together at one place indefinitely.

Why is the pattern spiral?

For centuries, almost every beekeeper, or scientist have tried to figure out why the spiral shape of the hive, without any success. Heard has decided to leave it, proclaiming that it could either be adaptive or a random event. He shifts more towards adaptive, for this way of building hives reduces the amount of space required, thereby making the structure even more compact. Also, it helps them allow air to pass through all the layers.

But whatever be the case, it is indeed fascinating.

IMAGE CREDIT: Tim Heard

Related Articles:

Research has already determined that exposure to all sources of cell phone and wireless WiFi radiation is harmful to all living beings – including insects. New Swiss research has found that insects’ body temperature increase when exposed to 5G.

Over the weekend, someone set fire to two dozen bee colonies in Alvin, Texas belonging to the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association. The perpetrator also dumped some of the bee boxes into a nearby pond. The Beekepers Association and the police are offering rewards for information leading to the conviction of the idiot who did it.

Bad news for the American bumblebee in Canada. Scientists took a new look at how the tiny insect—once widespread throughout its native North America—is faring, and found it may now be facing extinction up north.

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire conducted a study to document declines in about 100 wild bee species critical to pollinating crops throughout New England. What they discovered, according to the study, was a collapse in the wild bee population across the state, reported AP.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018At Least 1 Million Bees Found Dead in Cape Town

Beekeepers in and around Cape Town, South Africa are facing significant losses of their pollinators in recent weeks. The mass deaths have been linked to an insecticide called fipronil that was likely incorrectly used by the area’s wine farmers, according to media reports.

Friday, November 2, 2018Honeybees at risk from Zika pesticides

Up to 13% of US beekeepers are in danger of losing their colonies due to pesticides sprayed to contain the Zika virus, new research suggests. Zika – which can cause severe brain defects in unborn children – is spread by mosquitoes, so the insects are being targeted in the southern US where Zika-carrying mosquito species live.

Pesticides sprayed in the southern U.S. to stop the spread of the Zika virus could turn the nation’s honeybeesinto collateral damage. That is the warning issued by a study from the University of Exeter and the University of California, Berkeley published Friday in the Journal of Agricultural Research. The study found that 13 percent of U.S. honeybee keepers are at risk of losing their colonies from Zika spraying.

As the world population of honey bees continues to decline at a dangerous rate, a new study suggests that mushrooms could have a powerful effect on bees by helping them combat the viruses that have been killing their colonies.

While it has been widely established by the scientific community that the class of pesticides known as  neonicotinoids (or neonics) have had devastating impacts on honey bees and other pollinators, new research shows that Monsanto’s glyphosate—the world’s most widely used chemical weed-killer—is also extremely harmful to the health of bees and their ability to fend off disease.

Bees become addicted to pesticides in the same way that humans grow dependent on cigarettes, new research has found.

Related News On HuffPo Club www.hpub.org:

Disqus Comments

Specify a Disqus shortname at Social Comments options page in admin panel

Facebook Comments

G+ Comments

Default Comments

 
  • Hpub asks

    • Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.