If you ever needed evidence that bees were artists, take a look at this incredible photograph posted by The National Trust. Left to their own devices, the bees at Bodiam Castle in Robertsbridge, United Kingdom made quite the spectacle. Within the structure of their hive, they created a delightful heart-shaped honeycomb that looks as sweet as it tastes.
This may seem like an odd sight, but that’s only because we’re used to beekeepers placing rectangular frames within the hive. The bees then deposit their honey and build a comb directly onto the frame, which can be easily taken out and harvested by the beekeeper. But the reality is, bees will use as much space as they have to store honey. In fact, natural hives can take on all shapes and sizes.
For instance, sugarbag bees, which are native to Australia, make hives that form large spiraling structures. In temperate climates, some bees will even form an “open colony” where the entire hive is exposed. These can hang off of trees, fences, or overhangs and take on impressive oblong shapes.
Still, the photograph from Bodiam Castle is fascinating because it was formed within the wood frame of a hive. Beekeeper gregthegregest2 mentioned on Reddit that this is a common occurrence when the bees are left a large gap between the top of the frames and the roof of the hive. Of course, it makes good sense that these hard workers would take advantage of every inch given to them. While the shape is beautiful, this can be a headache for beekeepers when looking to harvest their honey. They need to cut away the extra honeycomb in order to free the frames below.
Of course, the skill of bees is well known. In fact, even artists have taken advantage of their capabilities by working with bees to create everything from sculptures to embroidery. So the next time you see a honey bee buzzing from flower to flower, just imagine what interesting artistry might happen when it makes its way back to the hive.