Beehives are made of honeycomb, which is beeswax formed into numerous hexagonal cells and arranged in sheets. Beehives may be contained within natural structures such as hollow trees or in man-made structures for easy control of the bee colony.
The beeswax used in honeycomb is produced by bees in a similar manner as honey. Like honey, beeswax is secreted by bees. Young bees between 10 and 16 days old are specialized for beeswax production. They first consume a large amount of honey, then they secrete flakes of wax from special glands. The sheets of beeswax are held together with bee glue, which is wax mixed with plant resin.
Bees use trees, rocks and mud to contain their hives. The exterior of artificial hives is made out of materials that may include wood or clay. Traditional beekeepers often contained their bees within straw skeps, which have a distinct dome shape.