Anatomy of a Hive
by Peter Tyson

A honeybee hive is far more than just a buzz of activity. In fact, the social organization inside a nest rivals that in the best-run corporations, with each bee and each cell possessing a rigidly specific function. If you're unfamiliar with them, some of those functions, such as the "waggle dance," might leave you scratching your head in amazement at their sheer sophistication. Climb inside a bee's nest by clicking on the thumbnail images at left, and get a taste of the fascinating physical and social infrastructure of a hive.

Inside a honeybee hive.


Peter Tyson is Online Producer of NOVA.


Chief sources
The Wisdom of the Hive: The Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies, by Thomas D. Seeley (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995).

Honeybee Ecology: A Study of Adaptation in Social Life, by Thomas D. Seeley (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985).

Photo: Corbis

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