How Do Bees Make Their Hives?

The queen bumblebee, who is the only one that survives in winter, picks a nest location during spring. She fills the spot with dry grass or other materials to build a shelter. Other honeybees flatten the bark near the entrance to their home, and they cover the tree’s inner walls with plant resin.

Bees use different methods to build hives depending on their habitat and social structure. The most common types of beehives are underground hives, exposed hives and tree hives.

Bumblebees create improvised homes in dry, dark and partly enclosed places. They typically make hives beneath the ground or in heaps of debris, although some species like to have nests above the ground or at ground level. Bumblebees also sometimes use woodpiles or abandoned mice nests. 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.

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.

Other honeybees build hives in hollow trees. They also mark the top and sides of the area with honeycomb. The bees construct the hive in the same style every time.