How bees make wax


Bees make honeycombs from wax. These structures perform various functions in the hive, each of which is necessary for the normal functioning of insects. In shape, they resemble hexagons, the dimensions of which depend on the size of the individuals living in them.

What functions do cells perform?

In the life of the bee colony family perform a number of important functions. As a rule, they are used for the following purposes:

  • honey storage;
  • accommodation;
  • breeding and maintenance of offspring.

All of these functions play a significant role in the life of insects. In beekeeping families are provided with a building, which they later develop. In the wild, individuals do not have such an opportunity, with the result that they are spent on construction all the time, which does not allow them to fully produce honey.

Honey is stored in the upper cells, the hive is much freer at the bottom - there is collected pollen and floral nectar, enriched with special bee acids and enzymes.

Attention! When honey is ripe on the lower tiers, it is transferred to the upper honeycombs.

How bees build honeycombs

For a long time, insect-made honeycombs were considered the benchmark of architectural construction. This is due to the fact that in a small area individuals can build buildings that are as durable, functional and efficient as possible. For construction, only wax is used, which in a softened state is capable of taking any geometric shape, including a hexagon — insects give this shape to the cells. Bee honeycombs, which make the bees, have certain features and purpose, therefore, differ in a number of signs.

Varieties depending on the destination

Honeycombs erected in a beehive of wax differ among themselves by purpose. If we consider the types, there are the following types:

  • bee - standard hexagonal honeycombs, which are later used by insects in the process of life for storing honey, bee bread, breeding offspring (workers). Cells of this type are most of all, since working individuals occupy the first place in quantity. On 1 square. cm is 4 cells with a depth of 10-11 mm. At the moment when the brood is open, the depth increases to 24-25 mm. When broods are grown, the space becomes much smaller, as empty cocoons remain. If there is not enough space, then walls can be added. As a rule, in northern bees, the cells are much larger than in southern individuals;
  • in addition to the honeycomb, drone cells are erected in the hive. The difference from the previous view is the depth, which is 15 mm. In this case, 1 square. cm posted a maximum of 3 cells. In such honeycombs, bees store only honey, they do not leave pergouille;
  • transitional - located in those places where the transition to the bee bees. Such cells have no special purpose, they are used to fill free space. Honeycombs of this type can have any geometric shape, in most cases it is irregular. The size is average, they are not used for growing offspring, but in some cases bees can store honey in them;
  • queen cells - occupy the most space in the hive and are intended for growing bee queen bees. Such cells are erected when bees are preparing for swarming or if the queen bee has been lost. Uterus may be swarm and fistulous. Swarms are located on the edges of the honeycomb, eggs are laid in the first cells of the uterus, then the mother liquor is built as needed.

Wax in honeycombs plays a huge role. This material is used for the construction of cells of various configurations and purposes.

Important! For the construction of 1 bee cell takes 13 mg, for the drone - 30 mg of wax.

Honeycomb dimensions

Honeycombs have the following dimensions:

  • width - 5-6 mm;
  • depth - 10-13 mm.

At the top of the cell frame is much thicker than the bottom. The size largely depends on how large the beehive has been provided by the beekeeper and how large the individuals themselves are. As a rule, the standard frame size for the hive is 43.5 * 30 cm.

Empty honeycombs, rebuilt recently, have a white color. Cells that insects use to live in, over time, begin to darken. Gradually, the shade becomes light brown, after which it darkens even more. This is due to the fact that in the process of living in the cells accumulate waste products.

Attention! In the construction process involved the allocation of wax workers bees.

Where the bees take wax for honeycombs

Bee colonies not only collect honey, but also equip their hive. Bees take wax for honeycombs of their own production. If you look at the individual in detail, you can see that there are 4 pairs of glands on the abdomen, thanks to which the product necessary for construction is excreted.

The surface of these glands is smooth, thin wax strips form on it. It is worth noting that 100 such wax plates weigh about 25 mg, so for 1 kg of wax it is necessary that the bees produce 4 million of these plates.

To remove wax strips from the abdominal area, individuals use special tweezers located on the forelimbs. After removing them, the wax is softened by the jaws. After the wax has become soft, they build cells from it. For the construction of each cell spend about 130 plates of wax.

How bees make honeycombs from wax

In early spring, after the bees gain enough strength after wintering, the insects begin the construction process. It was during this period that special glands begin to function, responding to the production of a sufficient amount of wax.

Only wax is used for construction, due to the fact that this building material has a number of properties:

  • plasticity. In the soft state, wax can be given any shape, which is very convenient when carrying out construction work;
  • hardness After solidification, the shape of the cells is not deformed;
  • increased strength and durability;
  • resistance to external factors;
  • antibacterial properties allow you to protect the hive and its inhabitants from many diseases.

First of all, they build a bottom and only after that proceed to the construction of the walls. Erect honeycomb begin from the top, slowly moving to the bottom. The size of the cells depends entirely on what kind of bees live in the hive.

The performance of insects is limited, every 2 hours the bees produce wax in a certain amount. An individual with its front paws brings wax scales to the upper jaw, which, when in contact with a special substance produced by a bee, begins to be processed. Thus, the crushing and softening of the wax occurs, after which it can be used for construction.

Attention! When building honeycombs, the bees need an increased amount of oxygen, therefore it is necessary to additionally provide artificial ventilation of the hives.

The optimum temperature for the construction of cells + 35 ° C. At maintenance of the set temperature wax is pressed, takes any form.

New honeycombs are built of wax over the old ones, after which the bees collect honey and seal them. These works are done by insects annually.

How do bees seal honeycombs

After the construction work has come to an end, the insects start collecting honey, which is placed in the cells. Throughout the season, individuals work tirelessly to fully provide themselves with food for the winter. The most crucial moment is the process of sealing the cells where the honey is located.

As a rule, honeycombs are filled with honey in the fourth part, the rest of the space is allocated for raising offspring. Before you start blocking the cells, it is necessary that the moisture level in the hive be reduced to 20%. To do this, the bees create artificial ventilation - they begin to flap their wings actively.

Zabrus is used for sealing - a substance consisting of pollen, wax, propolis and pollen. In addition, it contains many vitamins, micro-and macronutrients, essential oils.

What wild bees make honeycombs from

Wild animals differ from domestic animals in that they do not live in specially prepared hives, but in nests. As a rule, in the wild nature insects live in hollows of trees or cracks. The main building material are leaves, branches and grass.

In the nests of wild insects are honeycombs having a hexagonal shape. For construction, they use a waxy liquid, which they release on their own. Before the onset of winter, they begin to gloss over all the existing holes with propolis. For wintering use the lower part of the nest, where there are no honeycombs and warmest of all. In the center of the family is the queen hive. Insects are constantly moving, thus they not only warm themselves, but they do not allow the uterus to freeze.


Bees make honeycombs in the form of regular hex cells. Honeycombs are used not only for collecting and storing honey, but also for raising offspring, for personal living. In the hives there are several types of honeycombs, each of which performs a specific function and bee families cannot do without them. The construction process in wild and domestic bees is identical. Domestic insects collect much more honey than wild counterparts due to the fact that the beekeepers provide them with ready-made beehives, and under natural conditions, families have to find and arrange a place for wintering on their own.