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A Comparison of Honeycomb Structures Built by Apis millifera (SE82-17)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Apis millifera Species: Honeybee


A beehive's storage needs directly influence the building of honeycomb. A forager bee returns to her hive with a load of nectar, transferring it to the household bee to process into honey and store. If there is no place to store the honey, the household bee must retain it within her own honey stomach. If it remains there for many hours, most of the sugar content is assimilated causing wax scales to secrete involuntarily through the wax glands on the bee's underside. This creates the necessary construction material for comb expansion. To build honeycomb in an enclosure, worker bees need an adequate food supply and a queen bee present.

The objectives of this experiment were two-fold: first, to monitor the behavior and survival of honeybees in microgravity, and secondly to compare the shape, size, volume and wall thickness of honeycombs constructed on orbit to those built by a ground control group.

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Poskevich D. A comparison of honeycomb structures built by Apis millifera (SE82_17). In: Jackson JT, Christie NW, comps. Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) Final Reports of Experiments Flown. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; 1989 Oct. JSC 24005.


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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

Egg laying ability
Egg viability
Honeycomb: cell angle
Honeycomb: cell density
Honeycomb: cell depth
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-41C 04/06/1984 04/13/1984 7 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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