Exploration of the Beehive – Very simply, a beehive is the home of the honey bee colony. Technically speaking the term beehive refers to a man made structure designed to house domesticated honey bee colonies. Artificial beehives serve two basic functions as far as humans are concerned. They are designed to produce honey of course, but they are also commonly moved around in order to assist in the pollination of crops. An apiary is an area where beekeepers keep their hives. Many farmers will grant beekeepers free use of small pieces of land to raise bees as they view these insects as very valuable pollinators.
Natural beehives or colonies are very different from the homes of their domesticated peers. A natural beehive is similar to a birds nest, designed for protection of the colony. Often these colonies are established in tree hollows or cavities in rock outcroppings.
An ideal nesting site will have only one opening making the colony easier to protect. Worker bees collect various plant resins to produce propolis. They use this resin based substance to smooth the entrance of the hive and seal any small cracks and crevices that may exist within the nesting area.
The inside of the hive is filled with honeycomb made from beeswax. Honeycomb is made up of many densely packed hexagonal cells. These cells are designed to store food, pollen, and to house developing brood. The term “brood” is general in nature and relates to eggs, larvae, and pupae. The purpose for creating beehives is to raise young bees, to produce honey, and to serve as a base camp for the community.
In natural settings, the internal structure of the hive is relatively consistent. Upper part of the comb stores honey, below there are rows of cells that store pollen, worker brood cells, and drone brood cells. On the very bottom there are queen cells of the peanut shape.