Bee honeycombs: what they consist of and how they are built, how they look and shape, what to do with them

Bee honeycombs: what they consist of and how they are built, how they look and shape, what to do with them

Bee honeycombs are wax constructions of honey insects, which consist of ordered cells. Such structures are used as storage for eggs, larvae, food supplies. They also contain adult insects. Cells are hexagonal cells that are located on both sides of the common mediastinum. However, it can be natural or artificial.

What honeycombs look like

This term is called a special layer, which consists of cells. Their thickness is 25 millimeters, and the width and height are determined by the dwelling of the bees. Layers of cells are attached to a makeshift ceiling, after which they descend vertically.

The distance that appears between adjacent structures is called a street. Most often, its size is 10-12 millimeters. This interval is needed so that insects in different cells do not touch each other.

This design is considered unique. Each cell is a hexagon, which is made of wax. Numerous experiments have established that this form provides a lot of space with a minimum of construction costs.

Composition of cells

Honey, which is inside, contains a lot of useful substances. In addition, scientists have analyzed the composition of beeswax many times and found about 300 ingredients in it. So, honeycombs consist of the following elements:

  • organic acids;
  • resin;
  • minerals;
  • alcohol esters;
  • vegetable pigments;
  • aroma oils;
  • keto and hydroxy acids;
  • cholesterol.
It is worth noting that the wax contains virtually no ingredients that can break it down. The substance is stored for a long time and does not deteriorate. Honey, which is in natural containers, is a very valuable and expensive product. It includes propolis and pollen. These substances make the product even more useful.

Cell Types

Bee cells have different types, which differ in a number of features and characteristics.


This is a standard honeycomb that has a hexagonal shape. They are used to breed worker bees. Honey and bee bread are also stored in these structures. This cell type dominates the hive as workers make up the bulk of it.

For 1 square centimeter of the hive there are 4 such cells with a depth of about 11 millimeters. When rearing brood, the space in the comb is reduced by the remaining cocoons. Bees solve this problem by completing the walls. On average, 13 milligrams of wax is consumed per 1 bee cell.


If the bees have complete freedom to build a hive, in addition to the basic structures, they also make drones. Their distinctive feature is their large size. The depth of such cells is 15 millimeters. At the same time, a maximum of 3 pieces are placed on 1 square centimeter.

The drone cell uses significantly more wax - about 30 milligrams. This variety is also used to store honey. At the same time, bees do not keep bee bread in them.


Such cells are built in places where bee cells turn into drone ones. Such structures do not have standard features and a special purpose. They serve to fill the space between the mentioned cell types.

Transition cells may have an irregular shape. They are often made pentagonal. In addition, this type of honeycomb is uneven or too elongated. In size, such structures are a cross between bee and drone. Brood is not grown in these facilities, but they are quite often filled with honey.

Mother cells

Such cells are used to grow queens. They are considered the largest in the hive. Bees build them for two reasons - in preparation for swarming or when the queen is lost. In the first case, queen cells are called swarm, in the second - fistulous. Swarm structures are most often made in the rib zone.

At the initial stage of construction, the uterus lays eggs in them. After that, the walls of the queen cells are completed as the larvae develop. As a rule, queen cells are distinguished by a darker shade than ordinary honeycombs. These cells are not used for food storage.


Bee honeycomb has a unique structure. At the same time, in addition to them, frames are also installed in the hives.


Modern beekeepers use frames to extract combs from hives. The dimensions of the cells also depend on their size. New honeycomb frames are made on the basis of foundation. It is a thin sheet of beeswax, on each side of which there is an extruded bottom and the beginnings for the cells.

When constructing honeycombs on frames, the bees first draw out the beginnings of the honeycombs, after which they build them up using wax. Thus, many cells line up on both sides of the frame in the form of regular rows.

One frame accounts for about 4 kilograms of honey. The exact amount depends on the depth of the cells. The beekeepers monitor the filling of free elements and control the quality of the wax.


They are characterized by a vertical arrangement. At the same time, thicker elements are located at the top of the frame, and they narrow down at the bottom. The bees use the streets to pass.

Pure wax has a white or light yellow tint. This is due to the plants pollinated by the bees. Insects cover the walls of honeycombs with propolis, so they become more yellow. After a while, the wax darkens. This is due to the impact of resin and insect waste. Sometimes bees clean the combs.

How bees build them

The cells in the hive are made of wax. They are used to store honey and feed young bees. Such structures appear in a clear sequence. The ability to build honeycombs is laid in insects at the gene level. The bees know exactly what the cells are made of and what shape they should have.

Insects start building around the first cell, which is called the mediastinum. Wild individuals build this foundation on their own. When breeding domestic bees, people do this. Subsequently, construction is carried out around the mediastinum in two directions. The shape of each cell is suitable for attaching a new one.

After the construction is completed, the insects begin to collect nectar and put the honey mass into the cells. The final and very important stage is the sealing of the structure.

What to do with honeycombs?

Bees always build honeycombs of the desired shape. At the same time, not everyone knows that they bring great benefits to the body. The honeycomb of wild bees has long been used to strengthen the immune system.

Today it is known that honeycomb wax is an excellent cell generator.It is often used to create various cosmetics. Due to its antibacterial properties, the substance can be used for faster wound healing. In addition, compresses from this material improve blood circulation.

It is worth noting that it is quite possible to chew bee honeycombs without additional processing. This helps to restore digestive functions, eliminate constipation and get rid of flatulence.

Bee honeycomb is a unique product of beekeeping. They can have different types, which differ in their functions. In any case, this material has a number of useful properties that are associated with its unique composition.

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