Happy Honeybees

Honeybees are one of the most well-known pollinators that you may see in the garden. Not only do they help our garden fruits and vegetables grow, they also use nectar from our flowers to make honey!

Honeybees grow and thrive in their hives in the wild, but there are also people who raise honeybees in hives built to give them an ideal home. These are the beekeepers amongst us.

The Hive

Honeybees live and grow in a community known as the “hive”. Within each hive, there is a queen bee, and she’s mostly in charge. She lays all of the eggs that will become new baby bees.

The hive also has different kinds of worker bees, each type having a specific job. 

  • Foragers go out of the hive to collect pollen and nectar
  • Scouts are responsible to find a new home when the hive is ready to split and swarm
  • Guard bees keep unwanted guests from coming in and stealing the honey
  • Nurse bees raise the young as they develop from eggs to larvae to fully grown adult bees
  • There are even bees with the job of cleaning up the inside of the hive!


Did you know?

The inside of a hive maintains a temperature of around 90 degrees for the queen. Even in the winter, the queen must remain at this temperature. 

During winter, the bees form a clump around the queen to keep her at a happy and warm temperature. They eat their honey stores during this time to keep enough energy to create heat and stay warm.

Fun Fact:

Honey is made out of bee spit! It’s a lengthy process, transforming nectar from flowers into the tasty treat that bees, humans, bears and ants alike all enjoy.

The Queen Bee

She is chosen by her hive, raised to fulfill her role.

Once a queen bee has mated, she becomes the sole egg-layer inside the hive.

The queen lives longer than any other bees in the hive.


Once they have made the honey, it is stored in the honeycomb. Each hexagonal cell (made out of beeswax) is filled with the honey, and then a wax cap is applied to the top. This is called the “capped honey”.

Humans collect the honey from the hive. The caps can be scraped off the top, and then the frames can be spun around until all the honey drains out. Honey is collected and stored in jars for future use– eating, cooking, and sometimes even adding to beauty products.



Did you know?

Scientific studies have shown that honey is helpful for burns! According to a 2011 review published in The Scientific World Journal, applying honey to burns and other wounds helps to prevent infection, and also helps the healing process!




Honeybees are vital to the ecosystem because of the role they play in “pollination” – the process of spreading pollen across flowers so that fruit can grow.

Some beekeepers raise hives so that they can rent them out to orchards and farms, to help promote pollination of these important crops.

Pesticides and other chemicals put our bees at risk, which could also harm our food supply. Without pollinators, there will be no fruits growing from our crops.

Fortunately, many people have become more aware of threats to our honeybees, and are taking action. More and more people have starting raising hives to continue providing safe and thriving homes for bees. Others choose to grow their gardens using no chemicals or pesticides, and instead choosing healthier ways to deal with pesky visitors who might compete for our foods.

Winter in the Beehive


Bees need protection from the worst of weather, control of moisture to prevent freezing inside the hive, and plenty of food stores in order to survive. It is a difficult balance of ventilation to stay dry yet protection to keep warm.



While many bees will die off over the winter, the queen must live on in order for the hive to survive. Her hive will protect her as their first priority. Without the queen, there will be no hive in the spring.


Once spring arrives and the temperature begins to rise, bees will slowly emerge. They will clean out the hive, and then start foraging for more pollen and nectar. The queen starts to lay eggs, and a new life cycle begins!