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Hexagonal comb cells of honeybees are not produced via a liquid equilibrium process.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23149932     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
The nests of European honeybees (Apis mellifera) are organised into wax combs that contain many cells with a hexagonal structure. Many previous studies on comb-building behaviour have been made in order to understand how bees produce this geometrical structure; however, it still remains a mystery. Direct construction of hexagons by bees was suggested previously, while a recent hypothesis postulated the self-organised construction of hexagonal comb cell arrays; however, infrared and thermographic video observations of comb building in the present study failed to support the self-organisation hypothesis because bees were shown to be engaged in direct construction. Bees used their antennae, mandibles and legs in a regular sequence to manipulate the wax, while some bees supported their work by actively warming the wax. During the construction of hexagonal cells, the wax temperature was between 33.6 and 37.6 °C. This is well below 40 °C, i.e. the temperature at which wax is assumed to exist in the liquid equilibrium that is essential for self-organised building.
Authors:
Daniel Bauer; Kaspar Bienefeld
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-11-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Die Naturwissenschaften     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1904     ISO Abbreviation:  Naturwissenschaften     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-14     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0400767     Medline TA:  Naturwissenschaften     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Institute for Bee Research Hohen Neuendorf, Friedrich-Engels-Str. 32, 16540, Hohen Neuendorf, Germany.
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