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Do Bees and Hornets Use Acoustic Resonance in Order to Monitor and Coordinate Comb Construction?

Abstract

We propose that social hornets and bees, who construct large arrays (known as combs) of cells for hatching and brooding their offspring, exploit ultrasonic acoustic resonances in those cells in order to implement the accurate honeycomb structure exhibited by those arrays. This idea is supported by a number of theoretical considerations, including a detailed analysis of the spectrum of lateral acoustic resonances in a cell with circular cross section, considered as an approximation to the actual perfect hexagon shape. It is also supported by the results of some previous measurements of the acoustic spectrum in a nest of Oriental hornets.

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Correspondence to David J. Bergman.

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Bergman, D.J., Ishay, J.S. Do Bees and Hornets Use Acoustic Resonance in Order to Monitor and Coordinate Comb Construction?. Bull. Math. Biol. 69, 1777–1790 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11538-006-9190-9

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Keywords

  • Hornet
  • Oriental hornet
  • Ultrasonic
  • Resonance
  • Hexagonal symmetry
  • Honeycomb
  • Honeybee