Impressive Pest-Built Structures

Impressive Pest-Built Structures

The Honeycomb

Made with near mathematical perfection, the honeycomb is sculpted with striking accuracy and a measurable spatial advantage.

Honeybees manage to form these waxy structures with evenly constructed hexagonal compartments. Each of the edges of the hexagons are roughly 0.1 mm thick and are arranged into an exact 120° angle. Not only is this geometry incredibly impressive, but it is extremely beneficial for the storage of honey and efficiency of hive space overall. Hexagons can fit together with one another without leaving any gaps or requiring more wax to sustain the shapes. Since the hexagons share walls with one another and are packed so tightly together, they form a strong usable structure without wasting any materials or space.

Termite Mounds

Termites live in colonies similar to ants. Of the thousands of different termite species in existence a few select breeds in Africa and Australia have managed to produce mounds that are roughly 30 feet tall. Taking their proportions into consideration and comparing it to human construction, these mounds are comparable to a skyscraper reaching nearly a mile high into the sky.

Not only is the height of these structures impressive, but the termites have managed to construct a fully functioning series of caverns acting as an internal ventilation system for the colony. This is crucial not only to the insects themselves, but for the fungus that they grow inside their home.

The termites are like mini farmers, actively growing fungus in their home as a food source. As such, their mounds need to maintain certain temperature levels in order to allow fungi to grow efficiently. In Africa and Australia this constant temperature within the mounds comes out to roughly 86.9°F thanks to the methodical and highly effective ventilation tunnels.

Cooperative Web-Building

The science behind spider silk and basic spider webs is impressive as it is… but miraculously, in 2007 spiders managed to once again stun scientists by creating an unbelievably gargantuan web. The Texas-based web spanned across 591 feet and, in some areas, the web was so densely layered that it blocked out the sun, creating large patches of shade.

Unless utterly giant spiders like the fictional Acromantulas in Harry Potter or the Great Spiders of Middle Earth from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy existed to form such a web, no known spiders on Earth could construct a web of that size on their own. The creepy masterpiece was actually the work of hundreds upon thousands of spiders working in tandem that managed to create the labyrinthian mass of sheet webbing. This is extraordinarily impressive as spiders are typically highly solitary creatures that tend to be extremely combative and territorial towards one another, even commonly practicing cannibalism. As such, cooperative web weaving is exceedingly rare with spiders, making this structure truly a marvel.

Citations

The 3 Coolest Things Built by Bugs (2013) YouTube. SciShow. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=I8fLnDbWkg&list=PLB3FCEEAC84884760&index=78 (Accessed: June 2020).

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