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The spiral nest architecture of Australia’s stingless sugarbag bee

The Australian native stingless bee Tetragonula carbonaria, commonly called the sugarbag bee, is the only known species to build their hexagonal honeycombs in a spiral pattern. In this clip, entomologist and ex-CSIRO research scientist Dr. Tim Heard provides a tour of an open hive and its natural spiraling structure. He also points out a few other unique pathways in the hive. From Wikipedia:

The nests are found in open forests and woodlands. They are usually built in tree cavities, and have small cryptic entrances, with no external entrance tube. Four or five workers are usually visible at the entrance and are expected to be guards. They tend to choose larger trees and wider cavities to produce insulation valuable for their survival in the cool regions.

Learn more about sugarbag and other native Australian bees on Heard’s and at

Related vids: How to harvest honey, This Is Not a Bee, and Why do honeybees love hexagons? Plus: More videos about spirals.

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