Honeybee hives have long provided human beings with honey and beeswax. But the benefit of the honeybee to humanity far exceeds these resources. All bees are tireless pollinators and are largely responsible for the proliferation and good health of many of our plants and flowers. Sadly, bees have undergone something of a plague in North America recently. Their numbers have dwindled rapidly due to aggressive viruses, but many scientists believe that pesticides are ultimately to blame. One study suggests that pesticides attack the bees’ immune systems, exposing the insects to viruses and bacteria they would ordinarily be resistant to.
The resilience of a bee colony, however, is not easily destroyed. Indeed, the entire species has informed and inspired us for centuries, thanks to their incomparable productivity and strength. The very design of their hives, their concise social structures, their communication techniques and the intricately interconnected hexagons of their honeycombs have each provided the human race with endless inspiration. I am always amazed by how perfectly nature seems to design itself. Clearly, I am not alone. Below are five images demonstrating how the humble honeycomb has inspired human design – from tiles, to storage and beyond!