Caution: after what you are about to see, you may never be satisfied with run-of-the-mill beehives again. These design-savvy bees weren’t content to live in generic boxes like most bees, so they create spectacular spiraling hives that look like they could have come out of the mind of Zaha Hadid herself.

Tetragonula carbonaria, sugarbag bee, spiral beehive, spiral hive, unique beehive, animal architecture, beehive, native bees, native australia bees, australia bees,Image courtesy of Tim Heard

Known as sugarbag bees, Tetragonula carbonaria live in Australia and create unusual single-layer spiraling hives that are completely unlike flat beehives. There is only one entrance to each hive, and it is coated in a sticky layer that helps trap pathogens to prevent them from entering the hive. That bit of extra defense is nice, since sugarbag bees don’t sting – they bite.

Tetragonula carbonaria, sugarbag bee, spiral beehive, spiral hive, unique beehive, animal architecture, beehive, native bees, native australia bees, australia bees,Image courtesy of Tim Heard

Related: These tenacious bees create sturdy nests by carving out sandstone

Ok, technically, sugarbag bees may not be design-obsessed builders. In fact, scientists aren’t really sure why they build spiral hives (which means they might just be crazy about innovative architecture, right?). It could be that the design improves navigation or air circulation, which is crap in traditional honeycombs. Whatever the reason, we dig it.

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Entomologist and ex-CSIRO research scientist Tim Heard has kept sugarbag bees for over 3 decades, and he’s keen to educate people about these amazing insects. According to his website, “stingless bees are highly social insects, with one queen and thousands of workers who live together in a protected place, which, in nature, is usually in a hollow tree.”

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If you want to learn more about these remarkable bees, head to Tim Heard’s website, Facebook page, or check out his Australian Native Bee Book.

+ Sugarbag Bees

Via core77

Images via Tim Heard, Stephan Ridgeway and Wikimedia

Tetragonula carbonaria, sugarbag bee, spiral beehive, spiral hive, unique beehive, animal architecture, beehive, native bees, native australia bees, australia bees,Image courtesy of Tim Heard

Tetragonula carbonaria, sugarbag bee, spiral beehive, spiral hive, unique beehive, animal architecture, beehive, native bees, native australia bees, australia bees,Image courtesy of Tim Heard

Tetragonula carbonaria, sugarbag bee, spiral beehive, spiral hive, unique beehive, animal architecture, beehive, native bees, native australia bees, australia bees,Image courtesy of Tim Heard