Science | June 2, 2016 5:00 am

Why Nature Prefers Hexagons

NUERTINGEN, BADEN-WUERTEMBERG, GERMANY - 2012/07/28: Carniolan honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica), a subspecies of the western honey bee, are filling the hexagonal cells of their Honeycomb.. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images) Why Nature Prefers Hexagons The geometric rules behind fly eyes, honeycombs, and soap bubbles.
(Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“How do bees do it? The honeycombs in which they store their amber nectar are marvels of precision engineering, an array of prism-shaped cells with a perfectly hexagonal cross-section. The wax walls are made with a very precise thickness, the cells are gently tilted from the horizontal to prevent the viscous honey from running out, and the entire comb is aligned with the Earth’s magnetic field. Yet this structure is made without any blueprint or foresight, by many bees working simultaneously and somehow coordinating their efforts to avoid mismatched cells.”

Read Atlas Obscura‘s full story here.