How Do Honeybees Make Hives?

Let’s first start with a beehive.

What is a Beehive?

A beehive is a formation in which some honey bee species of the subgenus Apis live and grow their young. Though the word beehive usually describes the nest of any bee colony, scientific and professional literature defines nest from the hive. The nest holds settlements that house themselves in natural or artificial cavities or are hanging and exposed. Hive means an artificial construction to house honey bees. Numerous species of Apis live in colonies, but for the production of honey, the honey bees are the main species kept in hives.

What’s inside a Beehive?

Beehive’s internal arrangement is a densely pressed blend of hexagonal cells made of beeswax, also called a honeycomb. The bees use the cells to stock food and house the brood.

How Do Honey Bees Make Hives?

Ideal location: Honeybees build their nests in hollowed-out wood, rock crevices, the underside of roofs, and, generally, anywhere that offers protection from the elements. After finding a place they feel is suitable for their hive, bees will begin forming their nest.

Construction: Worker bees make the space by closing the exterior with a layer of propolis (A compound generated by bees thought to fight infections). Plant resins, wax secreted from glands in their abdomens, and saliva constitutes this substance. Bees are known to use propolis to shield the surfaces inside at different stages of the construction. It provides necessary protection to the colonies from germs and micro bacteria. 

Following this step, the bees start chewing the wax, which they secrete until it turns softer. It then starts bonding the pieces together to form individual cells. These cells act as nectar, pollen, honey, larvae, water, and egg storage facility.

The Final Structure: The hive, once ready, will usually have one entrance with an active colony living for several years. The wall of the completed structure can support around 30 times their weight. It contains pollen in the rows, honey in the upper layer, brood cells of the workers, and drone brood cells below the pollen. Queen cells are position at the bottom of this incredible structure. 

How are hives made hexagonal?

The mystery still clouds this answer. However, according to scientists, the hexagon might save bees some time and energy. They found some bees would start constructing circles in the wax using their body as a medium. Experts don’t know why it happens, but the bees seem to be using their body heat to soften the wax from a round shape into a hexagon pattern. 

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