The Beehive

Honeybee's don't construct a beehive like a wasp would build a nest (in the shape of a ball), and the beehive isn't made of honey or even wax.

Essentially, what happens is the honeybee's claim a space within an enclosure, which they deem suitable for their purposes, and attach their honeycomb to the interior of that enclosure.

Honeybees crowded at hive entrance. Click for larger photo.

In the wild It may be a hollowed area within a tree or other similar natural space the honeybees claim for their home. However, a manmade structure such as a house, a wall or any other enclosed area protected from the elements would do just as well.

All honeybee's kept by man are housed in man-made devices of wood (or other material) built specifically for the purpose of containing honeybees (often of box shape). Modern man-made hives are built in such a way as to enable access by the beekeeper to inspect the hive for the purpose of determining it's condition, the health of the bees or for the manipulation of the bees or the removal of honey, pollen, etc.

Honeycomb, which the honeybee attaches to the walls of their living space, is made from beeswax which is a biological product of the worker honeybee at 2 to 3 weeks of age. The wax is secreted as a liquid from 4 pairs of wax glands on the underside of the worker bee's abdomen and solidifies when exposed to the air. The honeybee molds the wax by masticating it, attaches it to the wall and/or ceiling of the living space and forms the honeycomb structure. Wax production degenerates as the bee ages.

Nectar in honeycomb

The honeybee uses the comb as a storage facility for nectar, pollen, water, honey and as a holding cell for egg, larvae and for the purpose of metamorphosis.

The "Hive" is the enclosure and everything within that the honeybee uses to contribute to it's survival.

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