A honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal wax cells built by honey bees in their nests to contain their larvae, and stores of honey and pollen.
Worker honey bees make hives of honeycomb to store honey and feed themselves throughout winter when they cannot go outdoors to forage for food. Although worker bees only live for approximately six weeks, they spend their lives performing tasks that benefit the survival of their colony. Around the time a worker bee turns 10 days old, she develops a unique wax-producing gland inside her abdomen. Workers forage for food and gather nectar from different flowering plants. When they carry nectar within their pollen pouch, it mixes with a specialized enzyme. After returning to the hive, the worker bee transfers the nectar from her tongue to another worker’s tongue, where the liquid from the nectar evaporates and becomes honey. The glands of worker bees convert the sugar contents of honey into wax, which oozes through the bee’s small pores to produce tiny flakes of wax on their abdomens. Workers chew these pieces of wax until they become soft and moldable, and then add the chewed wax to the honeycomb construction.
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