Comb

Comb (honeycomb) is a vertical structure hanging in the honey bee nest. It consists of two layers of cells, one on each side of its middle wall. In honey bee colony there is usually more than one comb. Number of combs found in natural nests was up to eight [1]. The combs are attached to the top and side walls of the cavity but not to its bottom wall. They are parallel to each other. The comb is used by bees for storage of nectar (as honey) and pollen (as beebread) and for brood rearing.
Orientation of the combs is not affected by position of the nest entrance or geographic directions [1][2][3] but see [4]. Swarms transferred to a new cavity tend to build combs in the same direction as in earlier occupied cavity [5].

References

  1. Seeley T.D., Morse R.A. (1976) The nest of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Insectes Sociaux 23:495-512.
  2. Ifantidis M.D. (1978) Wabenorientierung im Nest der Honigbiene (Apis mellifica L.). Apidologie 9:57–73.
  3. Taylor O.R., Otis G.W. (1978) Swarm boxes and Africanized honeybees: some preliminary observations. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 51:807–817.
  4. Gambino P., Hoelmer K., Daly H.V. (1990) Nest sites of feral honey bees in California, USA. Apidologie 21:35–45.
  5. DeJong D. (1982) Orientation of comb building by honeybees. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology 147:495–501.