A natural bee hive that a bee makes tends to be within a hollow of a tree, a chimney, a wall, or sometimes, in the shelter of a tree. These hives are made by the bees using their wax to make the structure of their home.
However as beekeepers we also make homes for the bees. Just like a normal home that we live in their home has a floor, 4 walls, a roof and a front door. Inside their furniture is made up of specially sized frames which come complete with a flat sheet of wax to help the bees start the comb building process. It also reduces the amount of wax they need to produce themselves, thus they don’t have to work as hard to make up their home.
Once the worker bees have started to create cells, those cells will be used to make honey and store honey and pollen. The queen will also take up a portion of the cells to lay her eggs to create the next generation of bees for the colony.
When we check a beehive we look for crowding and if there is enough room for honey to be store. When it’s looking a little cramped we put a second story onto the first thus giving the hive more space to grow.
A hive can have 30 to 100 thousand bees in it and that will dictate if it has 1, 2 or 3 stories. However as beekeepers a larger hive is not always a better hive. In suburban areas a hive with 30 to 50 thousand bees would be outstanding.