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    Honeycomb Conjecture & Quran Miracle

    Honey bees build honeycombs in hexagonal shape. Why hexagon and not any other shape? Quran explicitly mentions that God revealed to the honey bees about building its houses. Mathematicians have tried to solve this question for more than 2000 years and only in 1999, this was proved. It is called as the Honeycomb Conjecture.

    Quran Miracle – How did honey bee become a Maths genius?

    Nature is filled with miracles and signs that help us recognize and appreciate our Creator. In this article, we will look at one such sign from nature – the Quran Miracle and Honeycomb Conjecture.

    Why do honeybees use hexagonal shapes to construct their honeycombs?

    Take a close look at the honeycombs. You will see equally sized hexagons. Have you wondered why hexagons? Why not any other shape like a circle or a square or a triangle? You might think, what’s the big deal in this? It is indeed a big deal for the honey bees. Let’s see why.

    Problem of Wax

    Honey bees use wax to construct the honeycomb. Honey bees have wax glands in their abdomen. The wax glands convert honey into wax. This is where it becomes challenging.

    Wax Secretion – Honey bees

    Honey bees require 2.5 kilograms to 4 kilograms of honey to make half a kilogram of wax. If more wax is used to build the honeycomb, more honey will be consumed. So, the honey bees must come up with a plan to find the most efficient way to build the honeycomb.

    What shape to choose?

    Honey bees are faced with a difficult question: what shape can use the least amount of wax but can also give maximum space?


    Circle can be a tempting choice. But, if we go with the circle, we will have small gaps between the circles that go unused and that space is wasted. So the circle is not the most efficient shape.

    Circle - Honeycomb - Curious Hats
    Circle and Honeycomb

    Triangles or Squares

    When we use shapes like triangles or squares, there will be no gaps. Awesome! We solved the problem of gaps. But, will they use the least amount of wax and give the maximum space?

    Triangles and Squares - Honeycomb - Curious Hats
    Triangles and Squares – Honeycomb

    This sounds like a simple question to us but this has troubled mathematicians for more than 2000 years. Finding it hard to believe? Let’s learn a little bit about Honeycomb Conjecture.

    Honeycomb Math Problem

    The question of “why hexagons” was discussed as early as 36BC. Several mathematicians like Pappus of Alexandria tried to solve this. This problem was famously called the “Honeycomb Conjecture”.

    Only in 1999, an American Mathematician called Thomas Hales, proved the Honeycomb Conjecture. In the video below, Thomas Hales himself explains in an easy to understand language how a hexagon is the best shape that will require the least amount of wax and also give the maximum space. Hales shows how Hexagon offers more surface area than both the triangle and the square.

    Thomas Hales explaining Honeycomb Conjecture

    Honeycomb Conjecture proof

    Few pages from the Mathematical Proof provided by Hales

    • HoneyComb Conjecture Proof -1 Curious Hats
    • HoneyComb Conjecture Proof -2 Curious Hats
    • HoneyComb Conjecture Proof -3 Curious Hats
    • HoneyComb Conjecture Proof -4 Curious Hats

    Mathematics in Honeycomb

    The honeycomb contains lot of intricate mathematics, to the extent that we can call honey bees a Maths genius! If you are wondering why, Honey bees not only knew that the hexagon is the best shape but the hexagons are built with mathematical precision. The wax partitions are less than 0.1mm in thickness, which is accurate to a tolerance of 0.002mm. All the six walls in the hexagon are exactly the same width, and the angles of the walls are set precisely at 120 degrees. Remember, building a honeycomb is a team effort and all the honey bees build these identical hexagons simultaneously.

    No, they do not do rehearsals to get this correct. They just do it and have been doing it for thousands of years. Jaw dropping isn’t it?

    Who taught the honey bee?


    Some might say it is all because of “Evolution.” They might proudly add, honey bees did a lot of ‘trial and error’ over millions of years and finally found out that hexagon is the best shape.

    While we can always ask for evidence for this “trial and error” claim, we will go easy on them and keep that aside. Let’s think about this rationally.

    Size of the bee brain

    The brain of the bees is less than 2 cubic mm in volume. This is just 0.0002% of the human brain. Remember, for a Human brain, which is the most sophisticated, it took more than 2000 years to solve the honeycomb conjecture. Is it rational to believe that a creature that just has a significantly negligible fraction of the human intellect, understood the minute details of the geometry of shapes through just trial and error? A reasonable person would say No.

    The Creator taught the honey bee

    God is a mathematician of a very high order. He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.

    Paul Dirac, Nobel Prize winner for Physics in 1933

    The Creator, who used advanced mathematics in constructing the Universe is the one who taught all the creatures including the honey bee, the things necessary for their survival.

    Quran Miracle and Honeycomb Conjecture

    God says in the Quran:

    And your God revealed to the honey bee: “Build yourselves houses in the mountains and trees and what people construct.

    Chapter 16: Verse 68

    The verse explicitly mentions that it is God Almighty who revealed to the honey bees about building their homes. The Quran speaks about several other creatures like the ants, mosquitoes, flies, spiders but only when it speaks about the honey bee, it mentions about the revelation from God to build homes. So this cannot be a mere coincidence.

    Do honey bees build nests in mountains?

    The verse in the Quran mentions that God revealed to the honey bee to construct houses in the mountains. Entomologists found a species of bee called “Anthophora pueblo”, which builds houses in the mountains.

    Honey bees and mountains

    It is just amazing how the Quran mentions what was discovered by entomologists in the recent past.

    Quran must be the word of God

    The Quran was revealed 1400 years ago, to Prophet Muhammad, an illiterate man, who lived in the deserts of Arabia. Who could have taught him this 1400 years ago?

    If a person reflects on this question with an open mind, they will come to the conclusion that it must be God Almighty, the Creator, who revealed this knowledge to Prophet Muhammad.

    There is surely a sign in this for those who think deeply.

    Quran Chapter 16: Verse 69


    1. Honey bees build honeycombs in hexagonal shape.
    2. In 1999, a mathematician proved that a hexagon uses least amount of wax but allows maximum space.
    3. Quran explicitly mentions that God revealed to the honey bees about building its houses.
    4. Quran speaks about ants, mosquitoes, flies, and spiders. It mentions the building of houses only when it speaks about honey bees.
    5. Quran mentions that God revealed to the honey bee to construct houses in the mountains. Entomologists discovered this in the recent past.
    6. Quran must be the word of God because Prophet Muhammad, who lived 1400 years ago, could not have known this information on his own.

    We are not fully done with what the Quran mentions about the honey bee. More on that in a separate article. Keep watching this space!


    Why are honeycombs hexagonal?

    Honeycombs are hexagonal in shape because they offer larger surface area than any other shapes like circle or triangle and they also use the minimum amount of wax.

    Who solved the Honeycomb Conjecture?

    A mathematician named Sir Thomas Hales proved the Honeycomb Conjecture in 1999. It was later (in 2014) verified by a group of researchers who checked his results using advanced computer algorithms.

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