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Vibration creates heat: honeybee

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Honey bees / Trypode / LicenseCC-by-sa - Attribution Share Alike

Honeybees create heat in hives via thoracic vibrations.

"Researchers at the University of Würzburg in Germany found that bee hive temperatures were not only maintained by general hive activity, but also by workers congregating at the brood and vibrating their thoracic muscles to warm the incubating young. Some of the workers stay completely motionless on a brood cap for several minutes, pressing their thoraxes against the cap to warm the young within. But many of the bees occupy an empty cell amongst sealed brood cells, and take up residence, sometimes for over an hour. Here, they vibrate their thoracic muscles and reach temperatures up to 41°C. The bees' heat can be felt up to 3 chambers away, and their head warms the six surrounding chambers. Usually a single occupant is the only beneficiary from a worker perched above it on the comb." (Courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild)
About the inspiring organism
Med_honeybees honey bee
Apis mellifera Linnaeus
Common name: Honey bee

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

IUCN Red List Status: Unknown

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Creating heat by vibrations, perhaps combined with some other form of biomimicry in which we mimic organisms that move through natural forces such as aspen leaves in the wind. Dispersing heat by location as bees do, by radiating out from central location.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Construction


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