This honeycomb pattern was made by bees, but it was no accident

23rd Jun 2020

Claim

This image shows a heart-shaped honeycomb pattern which was made naturally by bees.

Conclusion

This seems to come from a beekeeper who partly curated the pattern.

A photo that’s been shared around 50,000 times on Facebook claims to show a heart-shaped honeycomb pattern which has been made by bees, after their keeper forgot to put frames into their hive.

Not all is what it seems, however, which we know thanks to some fact checking by musician Steve Byrne on Twitter.

One version of the post dates back to 2015, when the National Trust Facebook page posted the same image, implying the photo was of a pattern made by bees under their care at Bodiam Castle. 

In response to one sceptical Facebook reader who commented on the image earlier this year, the National Trust replied “this is the real deal.” 

It said: “The photo was taken by our local team back when we posted this in 2015.”

It turns out this wasn’t true, and the author of the photograph is beekeeper Brian Fanner, who posted the image on Facebook in 2013. The National Trust have since edited their Facebook post to credit him, and removed the implication that it was made on their property.

According to Steve Byrne, Mr Fanner explained that he manipulated the shape of the hive lid in order to encourage the bees to make the shapes. 

The National Trust has now commented under its post: “It looks like it was shared by one of our property teams, in the belief it'd been created by the bees they care for. We often share photos captured by our teams, but in this case, we've bee-n stung. The photo was captured two years earlier by a photographer not associated with the Trust. We've been unable to verify with our local team where the photo came from as it was shared so long ago, but we've updated the credit for the photo.”