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Beehive Marvels

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Written by   6
1 year ago

From the dawn of time, man has been fascinated by the bee-hive. Symbols of industry, persistence, thrift, and single-minded dedication to duty, the honey-bee is an endless source of wonder to young and old. Such precision, orderliness, group loyalty and focused, the tireless effort is manifest among the bees that hive has been called an insect "city" or an insect "civilization.

Two phenomenal honey-bee skills that have captured the public imagination are associated with direction-finding and cell-building. Both of these operations require superlative mathematical and geometric skills, neither of which need to be learned by honey-bee.

Direction finding-and giving takes the form of the intriguing "waggle-dance" of the scout bee involving the elaborate and sustained "waggling" of the abdomen while the bee is in motion on the surface of the comb. The vigour, frequency, direction and overall pattern of the "waggle-dance", especially in relation to the sun's position, convey accurate information to the hive concerning the distance, direction, quantity and quality of the new-found nectar supply. Factors such as wind direction and velocity, plus obstacle to be encountered, appear to be indicated by this means, also. So intricate and precise is this communicative ritual that seems to require the employment of some of the highly sophisticated form of mathematics.

An incredible degree of geometric and engineering skill is also employed in cell-designing and building. The materials, shape, size and angles of the paper-thin cell walls are such that maximum strength, lightness, capacity, durability and insulating quality are secured, yet with minimum use of building materials and hive-space.

Who taught the busy worker-bee her mathematics and geometry and her economics? It's God.

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