How Do Beehives Work?

Most people know that beehives are where honey bees live and make honey.  But have you ever thought, how do beehives work? 

A beehive is a simple, yet innovative structure that has been around for thousands of years. While beekeeping began using pottery vessels 9,000 years ago, modern beehives were created in the 1850’s.  Since then, the basic design of a beehive has remained mostly the same. 

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What is a Beehive?

The word beehive is sometimes confused with the term bee nest.  While similar, the two are different things.  A beehive is an enclosed man made structure that houses bees. Only honey bees will live in a beehive.

A bee nest is a naturally occuring structure that may be in a natural cavity, or hanging and exposed.  Honey bees make nests in nature, as well as other species such as the carpenter bee.  

Another word that is sometimes confused with beehive is the word colony.  A bee colony is the group of bees that live inside the hive.  The colony consists of a queen, workers, and drones. 

A beehive is an enclosed man made structure that houses bees.

Different Types of Beehives

There are 3 main types of beehives that are used today.  They are the Langstroth Hive, Top Bar Hive, and Warre Hive. 

Langstroth Hive

The Langstroth Hive is by far the most commonly used beehive.  It consists of stacked wooden boxes that contain removable frames.  

Langstroth Hive boxes come in different sizes, making the hive customizable.  This hive is relatively inexpensive and great for honey production. 

Top Bar Hive

The Top Bar Hive looks very different from a Langstroth Hive. Top Bar Hives are horizontal, rather than vertical and they do not use frames.  Instead, wooden bars are laid atop the hive for the bees to build comb upon. 

Warre Hive

Warre Hives are a mix of Langstroth and Top Bar hives.  They are vertical, like Langstroth hives, and they use bars, like in the Top Bar Hive. This hive design is natural and low maintenance, but does not produce as much honey as the Langstroth Hive. 

Parts of a Beehive

Above are the parts of the Langstroth Beehive. On the bottom of the hive is the bottom board and entrance reducer.  Next are the hive bodies, which are typically 1-2 deep boxes.  This is where the brood is. 

On top of that is a queen excluder. This keeps the queen in the hive body so no eggs are laid in the supers. The supers are next – this is where the bees store their honey.  Supers are usually shallow boxes due to the weight of the honey.  

To top it all off are the covers.  The inner cover is for insulation and the outer cover is usually covered in metal for protection from the elements. 

How do Beehives Work?

You know that honey is collected from beehives, but how do beehives work exactly?  Beehives are actually very simple. Beehives work similarly to how bees would build their nest in nature. 

The boxes are meant to keep the honey bee colony safe and protected. The frames or bars of the hive are for the bees to build comb upon.  

In the lower portion of the hive, the queen will lay eggs.  The brood (eggs, larva and pupa) will hatch into drones (male bees) or workers (female bees).  

Worker bees have many different jobs within the colony.  Some tend to the queen and brood, some produce wax and build comb, and some forage for pollen and nectar.  

Honey bees convert nectar into honey by breaking it down in their stomachs and then drying it out to remove moisture. The honey is sealed and stored in hexagonal honeycomb cells to be eaten (or harvested by a beekeeper) at a later time. 

Beehive boxes are for protection. The frames are for the bees to build comb upon.

Best Beehives for Sale

Now that you know how a beehive works, you may have a better understanding of how to choose a beehive for sale. When looking for a beehive you want to see quality materials, excellent craftsmanship, and you want the best type of beehive that works for you.  

How do you know which beehive is best for you?  Check out my post on the different types of beehives to help you decide.  

Hoover Hives

If you are looking for quality materials and excellent craftsmanship, I’d recommend Hoover Hives. Made in the USA, Hoover Hives are made out of high quality, wax coated wood.  

Wax coated wood is a big plus when it comes to beehives because the wax naturally protects the wood from the elements.  That means no paint and harmful chemicals will cover your beehive.  

Hoover hives also feature precision cut dovetail joints that make their hives durable, strong,and easy to assemble.  All joints fit together perfectly and all nails and detailed instructions are included. 

To learn more about Hoover Hives, see my detailed review here: Hoover Hives Review

Where to Get Hoover Hives

You can get Hoover Hives at  Hoover Hives and Galena Farms are partner companies, so the prices remain the same.  

However, there is an advantage to ordering from Galena Farms.  If you place an order at, you can get 5% off by using the code COMPLETEBEEHIVES

Shipping is fast, and free for orders over $50. Since Galena Farms ships orders out within 24 hours, you can expect to receive your hive is as little as 1 – 4 days.  


Many people wonder, how do beehives work?  Beehives work similarly to how bees would build a nest in nature.  The bees build comb on the frames or bars of the beehive.  Brood, pollen, nectar, and honey are all stored within the honeycomb cells.