When you think of honey bees, the image that comes to mind is one of a giant, busy, hive. This is because the bees are a large group of worker bees and they all work together to create the most efficient and productive honey bee hive possible.
The hive structure is important for bees because it allows them to keep their nest cool, protect the brood (baby bees) and produce enough honey to sustain the colony through the winter. A typical hive has a hexagonal shape to allow for plenty of space and room for the bees to store as much honey as possible inside.
Bee Hives and Thermoregulation
When the weather gets cooler, the bees cluster around the queen in their hive to keep them warm. This keeps the temperature in the center of the hive at 90F or higher, which helps them survive and make it through the winter.
Pheromones and the Queen Signal
The queen is the most powerful figure in a bee hive and has her own unique blend of pheromones that control the mood of the entire hive. She uses the pheromones to gather workers to groom her, on mating flights to attract drones and during swarms to keep her group together.
Pheromones are the main reason a colony works and they also have other effects on the bees themselves. For example, a queen’s pheromones help her attract other bees to her, but they can also discourage the workers from raising a new queen or laying eggs.