Bee’s Needs

When I say honeycomb, I think that you all immediately have an image in your mind of how one looks.  You immediately think of tightly packed hexagons (6-sided polygons) and might even imagine some honey dripping off.

Did you know that the bees don’t actually make hexagons when building?  No, they make cylinders.  Then, the staggered rows come about naturally as that is the best way for the circles to fit together.  Then, the cylinders settle into each other and take on the hexagonal shape.  The hexagon is a perfect way to maximize the use of the space, and it comes about as the cylinders meld together and fill any unused areas.   (2)

When you look at a complete honeycomb, you are also looking at a pattern called a tessellation or a tiling.  A tessellation consists of repeated geometric figures to cover a plane and leave no gaps or overlaps.  (A tile floor is a good example.)  The honeycomb is an example of one of three regular tessellations, made up entirely of hexagons that all have the same side lengths and angle measures.  (The other two regular tessellations are either made up entirely of squares or equilateral triangles.)  (3)


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