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Category: PROPOLIS.

The exact and uniform size of their cells is perhaps as great a mystery
as anything pertaining to them; yet, we find the second wonder before
we are done with the first. In building comb, they have no square or
compass as a guide; no master mechanic takes the lead, measuring and
marking for the workmen; each individual among them is a finished
mechanic! No time is lost as an apprentice, no service given in return
for instruction! Each is accomplished from birth! All are alike; what
one begins, a dozen may help to finish! A specimen of their work shows
itself to be from the hands of master workmen, and may be taken as a
model of perfection! He, who arranged the universe, was their
instructor. Yes, a profound geometrician planned the first cell, and
knowing what would be their wants, implanted in the sensorium of the
first bee, all things pertaining to their welfare; the impress then
given, is yet retained unimpaired! They need no lectures on domestic
economy to tell them, by using the base of one set of cells on one side
of their combs, for the base of those on the opposite, will save both
labor and wax; no mathematician that a pyramidal base, just three
angles, with just such an inclination, will be the exact shape needed,
and consume much less wax than round or square--that the base of one
cell of three angles, would form a part of the base of three other
cells on the opposite side of the comb--that each of the six sides of
one cell forms one side of six others around it--that these angles and
these only would answer their ends.

"The bees appear," says Reaumer, "to have a problem to solve, which
would puzzle many a mathematician. A quantity of matter being given, it
is required to form out of it cells, which shall be equal, and similar,
and of a determinate size, but the largest possible with relation to
the quantity of matter employed, while they shall occupy the least
possible space!"

How little does the epicure heed, when feasting on the fruits of their
industry, that each morsel tasted must destroy the most perfect
specimens of workmanship! that in a moment he can demolish what it has
taken hours, yes days, perhaps weeks, of assiduous toil and labor, for
the bees to accomplish!

Next: What Used For

Previous: Water Necessary To Comb-making

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