Birds do it, bees do it

WHEN it comes to architectural accomplishments, humans like to think they stand at the top of the pyramid. That is to underestimate the astonishing achievements of social insects: termites raise skyscraping nests and honeybees fashion mesmerisingly geometric combs. The true master builders of the insect world, however, are the hundreds of species of stingless bee, native to the tropics and subtropics, which weave combs of unparalleled variety and intricacy inside hollow tree trunks or other cavities…

Photograph: Viviana Di Pietro, KU Leuven

This article first appeared online in The Economist on 10 April 2024. To continue reading, click here (paywall).