Small Bees & Big Hives: How Bees Build Hives

Here is where you’ll find the bees-ness on beehives! Bees are cool little creatures that need safe locations to build their nests to continue to thrive and keep pollinating our planet. In every colony, there are scout bees whose sole purpose is to search for new places to build hives. In some species of bee-like bumblebees, the queen does the searching! What are they looking for?

Location Traits

Cracks and Openings

Bees prefer locations with cracks and openings like knotholes in trees or rock crevices. Bees prefer these openings to be dry and unoccupied. Did you know bees are attracted to the scent of previous bee colonies? This scent draws them to a potentially new hive location!

Presence of Water

Bees search for locations with water nearby. Be it a lake, pond, pool, or creek, bees, like other living beings, need water! Bees use water to keep their hive cool, but water also helps dilute crystallized honey, digestion, metabolism, and control the humidity of the colony.

Abundance of Vegetation

Bees will build hives in a place where there are a lot of flowers to collect nectar and pollen. Nectar is a source of carbohydrates and complex rand of sugar that gives them energy! Pollen is a vital source of fats and proteins. Bees can’t produce honey nor survive without these essential sources of food. Do you want more bees in your garden? Here’s what you can do:

  • Plant many native, brightly colored flowers in your area. More flowers = more bees!
  • Stop using any pesticides, as they can harm bees. If you want a pesticide, use a natural pest-ridding remedy to keep your garden pesticide-free.
  • Aim to plant flowering trees! When they are in full bloom, they provide large amounts of food for our little friends!

Low Exposure to the Elements

Bees prefer locations that are less exposed to the wind and excessive sunlight. Windy conditions can create uncomfortable conditions inside the hive due to cold air. On the other wing, excessive sunlight slows down their workforce due to high temperatures.

Ground-to-Nest Height

Some bees build their nests on or near the ground; most prefer to build them between five and nine feet on trees, buildings, and rock crevices. Being high off the ground keeps away predators and other potential threats.

How Do Honey Bees Build Their Nests?

After finding a suitable location, honey bees begin construction at the top and work their way down. Female worker bees ready the space by covering the walls with thin layers of propolis. Propolis is a substance made of saliva, plant resins, and wax secreted from the female worker bee. Propolis has many uses, but it’s perfect as a “bee glue” to bind everything together.

The internal structures of the hive are made from beeswax. Worker bees secrete this natural wax from glands below their abdomens. Beeswax has waxy scales that form thin sheets that can be chewed up and molded into the required shape. Each cell built needs to have enough depth for larvae to grow and store honey. If the worker bee is happy with the cell, they polish it and start a new cell. In time, the queen will inspect each cell for correct sizing and cleanliness. She will only lay eggs in cells that pass her test.

The final hive will have a small entrance at the front of the hive, typically in a spot to deter extreme elements. It usually takes a few weeks to finish beehive construction, but the home should hopefully last the colony for several years. Beehives are built to last and are sturdier than most types of bee and wasp nests; honeycomb walls can support roughly 30 times their weight! Honeycomb walls are constructed to house eggs, water, honey, and other food supplies.

I Have An Unwanted Nest In My Home; What Do I Do?

If you’re in the Las Vegas area, Bee Masters of Las Vegas provides the safe removal of bees and wasps! We relocate bee nests without harming the little creatures, giving you peace of mind and a safe home again. Contact Bee Masters of Las Vegas today!

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