The story of a single cell within a beehive

The events that happen within a beehive are hidden from view. But they shape the miraculous lives of our bees and, through the wonder of the whole colony, show us a truly fascinating side to nature.

With tens of thousands of bees collaborating towards the growth and long-term survival of the colony, bees have remarkable resilience in the face of many threats and dangers. Yet this is all based on a repetitive and widespread story that takes place within each single cell. Multiplied across many frames, the structure we call comb is the scene of some beautiful events.

One of the most obvious uses for a single cell, of course, is the storage of honey. To the layman, bees and honey go hand-in-hand and vast numbers of cells are dedicated to the build of honey reserves.

But another essential purpose for which a cell is used is the raising of brood. Within each such cell, a tiny life is deposited in the form of an egg, evolves over a well-defined period of time and eventually results in the emergence of an adult bee, ready to help around the hive (if a worker) and eventually leave to forage.

In this article we take a detailed look at a single cell in the brood chamber. We discuss how the cell is formed, the special characteristics that make it so well suited as a “fabric” within the hive and the scene of an amazing story that unfolds from egg to adult bee.

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