Honey bee nests
Natural bee colony in the hollow of a tree
Honey bees use caves, rock cavities and hollow trees as natural nesting sites. In warmer climates they may occasionally build exposed hanging nests as pictured. Members of other subgenera have exposed aerial combs. The nest is composed of multiple honeycombs, parallel to each other, with a relatively uniform
bee space. It usually has a single entrance.
Western honey bees prefer nest cavities approximately 45
litres in volume and avoid those smaller than 10 or larger than 100 litres.
 Western honey bees show several nest-site preferences: the height above ground is usually between 1 metre (3.3 ft) and 5 metres (16 ft), entrance positions tend to face downward,
Equatorial-facing entrances are favored, and nest sites over 300 metres (980 ft) from the parent colony are preferred.
 Bees usually occupy nests for several years.
The bees often smooth the bark surrounding the nest entrance, and the cavity walls are coated with a thin layer of hardened plant resin (
propolis). Honeycombs are attached to the walls along the cavity tops and sides, but small passageways are left along the comb edges.
 The basic nest architecture for all honeybees is similar: honey is stored in the upper part of the comb; beneath it are rows of pollen-storage cells, worker-brood cells, and drone-brood cells, in that order. The
queen cells are normally built at the lower edge of the comb.