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How Does a Hive Work?

The term "busy as a bee" may have stemmed from the formal functions that every member of a given colony performs. A hive is supported by the queen, drones and worker bees, each having their own unique roles. Hives continue to thrive and lead to more colonies and hives because of the particular tasks that every bee does. The hive will continue to grow, develop and survive as long as every member functions properly. Here are some more information.

Describing the Hive

A beehive is characterized by an enclosed structure wherein the honey bee species thrive and raise their young. Natural beehives or nests are naturally-occurring structure where honey bee colonies live. Domesticated honey bees can live in artificial or man-made beehives, usually in an apiary. The man-made structures are usually referred to as beehives too. Only the eastern and western honey bee are domesticated by people. The species of the subgenus Apis thrive in hives.

The internal structure of the beehive is a densely packed matrix of cells having the hexagon shape and made of beeswax, called a honeycomb. The bees use the cells to save food like pollen and honey, as well as keeping the brood consisting of eggs, pupae and larvae.

Nests of Natural Bees

Honey bees belonging to the subgenus Apis usually go for rock cavities, hollow trees and caves to create natural nest sites. Other members have open aerial combs, which are nests made of several honeycombs that are parallel to each other. The nests usually have one entrance. Nests are occupied for several years at a time.

The bees start to smoothen the bark around the entrance of the hive, while the cavity walls are covered with a thin layer of propolis or plant resin. Honey is usually kept in the upper portion of the comb, below are cells filled with pollen, worker brood cells and then drone brood cells. The lower edge of the comb is occupied by queen cells.

Functions in the Hive

The queen's main function in the hive is to reproduce and create more workers and drones. The queen will produce more queen bees in the future. She will leave the hive once the new virgin queen emerges or will be left alive by the new queen when aging. The workers generally have the most functions to support the needs of other members in the hive.

Worker bees gather pollen and nectar to be carried back to the nest. Other members will feed on their harvest. Workers work to store the supplies, clean and build cells and take care of growing larva. Other worker bees function to provide water, control the hive temperature and keep it protected from mammals. Drones are raised to mate with the queen. After sexual intercourse, drones usually die.

Swarming Season

In some instances, there can be several hives created at once because of population boom. Swarming season usually begins from March up to early July. Swarming sites are created once the bee population grows bigger than the maximum capacity of the hive. Worker bees will then begin to scout for new hive locations for new colonies to establish. In the meantime, the new bees will remain in the swarming site.
More on Beehives

Traditional kinds of beehive usually give an enclosure to the bee colony. The honeycomb is usually cross-attached and cannot easily be moved without destroying the structure. The traditional hive is fixed, while the modern one has a movable frame. Harvesting usually destroys the hives. Honey is generally extracted from the hives by means of pressing. The wax honeycomb is crushed to squeeze out honey.

Mud hives are still available in some countries like Egypt. These are characterized by long cylinders made from dung, mud and straw. These are used singly, but can be stacked in rows to give more shade. Bee gums involved parts of hollow trees used. These are called such because these came from red gum trees.

Modern Hives

There are now several commercial and man-made hives. The modern beehive is generally composed of the bottom board, the brood box, the honey super, the frames and foundation and the inner and outer cover. Smoking is done to drive the bees out for humans to collect beeswax and honey. Modern hives generally function to provide for the needs of humans. The roles of the bees are radically the same.

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 Welcome to Beekeeping
 About the Bees The Queen Workers and Drones
 All About Pollen
 Bee Pest and Diseases The Beekeepers Enemies
 Beekeeping 101
 Beekeeping and people relations
 Beekeeping Basics Common Bee Diseases
 Beekeeping Benefits And Risks
 Beekeeping Essentials Tools and Protective Clothing
 Beekeeping in your own backyard
 Beekeeping Killer
 Beekeeping Threat
 Beekeeping Tips For Beginners
 Beekeeping Varieties
 Benefits you get from beekeeping
 Better Beekeeping
 General Tips On Backyard Beekeeping
 Getting To Know The Honeybees
 Health Benefits of Honey and Other Bee Products
 How Does a Hive Work
 How Much Honey to Expect
 How the Bees Make Honey
 How to get started with your beekeeping hobby
 How to Harvest Your Honey
 How To Install Packaged Bees
 How to make the most out of your beekeeping practice
 How To Manage Beehives
 How To Start Beekeeping
 How to Transfer the Bees and Whats in The Hive
 Managing Bee Swarms
 Maximizing honey production in beekeeping
 Selling Your Honey
 Six Things You Should Know About Harvesting Honey
 The Anatomy of Honey Bees and The Life Cycle
 The Changing Seasons How Do They Affect the Bees
 The Honey Journey
 The lighter side of beekeeping
 The Men of Beekeeping
 The Star of Beekeeping
 Things to know about beekeeping
 Three Ways To Acquire Bees
 Unmasking a Beekeeping Foe
 Want to try beekeeping
 What are the Different Types of Beehives
 What Equipment Do You Need
 What Is Beekeeping
 When and Where You Should Get Your Bees
 Where to Place Your Bee Hives