Tim Heard

Investigating a Spiral Home

Out of about 20,000 known bee species in the world, T. carbonaria is one of only 500 without stingers. They also raise their young in unusual spiral shaped nests, known as brood combs. Taking on a similar structure to the more common honeycomb beehives, hundreds of continuous cells link together to create a staircase structure. However the T. carbonaria's world takes the form a swirling spiral, that could grow indefinitely as new bees are laid. Scientists are slightly baffled as to why the structure is formed in this way though, with Toby Heard saying "Perhaps, it is just the outcome of some random behaviour or perhaps it is adaptive‚Ķ But then one has to ask, why it is not more common". Perhaps this rare species of bee prefers building with a pattern flourish, and finds satisfaction in creating patterns within patterns.
Go beneath the surface of pattern with insightful essays and visual inspiration in our book, PATTERNITY: A New Way of Seeing