Free Access
Volume 22, Number 4, 1991
Page(s) 381 - 388
Apidologie 22 (1991) 381-388
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19910403

Construction defects define pattern and method in comb building by honeybees

H.R. Hepburn and L.A. Whiffler

Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

Abstract - In comb building several festoons may begin building at independent sites. Combs are made parallel by manipulating the length of the cells but dislocated combs are incorporated into the total nest structure. Parallelism is achieved through passive application of the bee space. Cell size and orientation vary independently and are unique to each festoon and comb. Combs are joined laterally near their mid-sections and are usually out of register. Cells are approximately hexagonal within a comb, but poor fit requires the insertion of pentagons, heptagons, and the use of fill and vacancies for the fusion of small combs into a single large comb. Poor fit of adjacent combs occurred in = 96% of all cases examined in A m capensis.

Key words: comb building / defects / Apis mellifera capensis