Q:

What is a beehive made of?

A:

Bee hives are made from wax made by worker bees. These bees have special glands inside their abdomens that allow them to turn the sugar from flower nectar into wax. The bees chew the wax to soften it, and then they deposit it in the selected location to create the hive.

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Worker bees forage for food, gathering nectar from flowering plants. They carry the nectar in a pollen pouch, where it mixes with a special enzyme. When the bee returns to the hive, she deposits the nectar from her tongue onto the tongue of another worker bee, where it evaporates and becomes honey.

The specialized glands in a worker bee's abdomen converts the sugar in honey into wax. The wax oozes from the bee's pores and forms flakes on her abdomen. She chews the wax to soften it and then places it in the hive. When worker bees gather together inside the hive, their activity maintains a temperature of about 86 to 95 degrees F, which is the temperature needed to keep the wax malleable and soft.

Worker bees live for only about six weeks, and their entire short existence is devoted to maintaining the colony and the hive. The hive, comprised of thousands of hexagonal cells, is used to house larvae and to store nectar, pollen and honey.

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