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Why Do Bees Build Hives?

Why Do Bees Build Hives?

If you’ve ever seen a beehive, you know it isn’t just a simple structure that was thrown together without a purpose. But what exactly is the purpose of beehives? Why do bees build them? Let’s check in with our friends at Reference to find out!

The Hive is Home

Different types of bees use different methods to build hives, depending on their habitat and social structure. Regardless of the type of hive that is built, however, they all serve the same purpose: They exist as the bees’ home and to protect the queen bee and larvae.

Common Types of Beehives

The three most common types of beehives are underground hives, exposed hives, and tree hives:

  1. Underground - Bumblebees create improvised homes in dry, dark, and partially enclosed places. These hives are typically built beneath the ground or in heaps of debris. When the larvae grow after the queen bee lays eggs, the new members of the colony work to finish the hive, gather honey and take care of the new larvae.

  2. Exposed - Asian honeybees form hives in open spaces, usually on tree branches and cliff overhangs. Large honeybees make a single, huge honeycomb at the bottom of a horizontal structure. They protect the hive, queen and, larvae using their bodies.

  3. Tree - Other honeybees build hives in hollow trees, also marking the top and sides of the area with honeycomb. They construct the hive in the same style every time. These hives also serve as a place to store honey during the winter so the bees can feed themselves when they can’t go outside to forage for food. 

Isn’t it amazing how bees work together to form such impressive hives that provide shelter, protection, and food storage? 

Looking for more Never Stop Asking "Why?" questions? Catch up on all of the past "Why's" on the blog!