How Clumps of Honeybees Survive Wind

September 17, 2018
Everyone loves spring! by Percita on Flickr

L. Mahadevan and PhD students, Jacob Peters ('18) and Mary Salcedo (Mahadevan Lab) teamed with Prof. Orit Peleg, Colorado University-Boulder, to research the collective mechanical adaptation in honeybee swarms. The study, published in Nature Physics, shows the swarm of bees act as a superorganism that responds to physical stress by changing shape. Using both physical experiments and computer modeling, the team showed that the inverted cone shape of the swarm flattens in high winds as bees near the tip of the cluster climb up towards the base. Nature video of swarming bees, Science News.

Image: Everyone loves spring! Percita on Flickr