Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Nest Structure: Honey Bees

  • Michael L. SmithEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_85-1
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Synonyms

Honeycomb

The structure of honey bee nests inspires wonder at multiple levels, from the perfection of the stacked hexagons to the organization of the nest contents by the unsupervised collective. The greater part of research into honey bee nest structure has focused on the cavity-nesting western honey bee, Apis mellifera, but nests of other honey bee species are equally impressive. Only by comparing across species can one reach broader conclusions about how nest structure and nest organization contribute to the function of the superorganism.

The genus Apis comprises three distinct groups: dwarf honey bees, giant honey bees, and cavity-nesting honey bees. This classification neatly divides the genus according to where they build their nests and the nest’s appearance (Table 1 and Fig. 1). The dwarf bees build a single comb that encompasses the twig upon which it is supported; the giant bees build a single comb underneath a strong structure; and the cavity-nesting bees build...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Collective BehaviorMax Planck Institute of Animal BehaviorKonstanzGermany