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. (March 2017)
Painted wooden beehives with active honey bees
A beehive is an enclosed structure in which some honey bee species of the
Apis live and raise their young. Though the word beehive is commonly used to describe the nest of any bee colony, scientific and professional literature distinguishes nest from hive. Nest is used to discuss colonies which house themselves in natural or artificial cavities or are hanging and exposed. Hive is used to describe structures used by humans to house a honey bee nest. Several species of Apis live in colonies, but only the
western honey bee (Apis mellifera) and the
eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) are kept in hives by humans. A bees nest is comparable to a bird's
nest built with a purpose to protect the dweller.
The beehive's internal structure is a densely packed group of
hexagonal prismatic cells made of
beeswax, called a
honeycomb. The bees use the cells to store food (
pollen) and to house the
Beehives serve several purposes: production of honey,
pollination of nearby crops, housing supply bees for
apitherapy treatment, and to try to mitigate the effects of
colony collapse disorder. In America, hives are commonly transported so that bees can pollinate crops in other areas.
 A number of
patents have been issued for beehive designs.