Understanding Honeybee Hives Student Sheet

Understanding Honeybee Hives Student Sheet


The European or western honeybee (Apis mellifera) is the primary pollinator for many of our food crops, including almonds, cantaloupe, avocados, alfalfa, cucumbers, watermelon, and many others. Worldwide, they are the single most important pollinator species for agriculture, and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Beekeepers all around the world maintain and manage domesticated honeybee colonies for both their honey and pollination services. 

What are the components of a typical managed beehive colony? Read pages 1–9 in The Hive Detectives by Loree Griffin Burns for an introduction to modern beekeeping.

By the end of your reading, you should be familiar with the following terminology. Use the glossary at the end of the book and the image of a typical movable hive your teacher shows you to support your understanding of a modern beehive.

  • Pheromone
  • Smoker
  • Supers and honey supers
  • Frame
  • Honeycomb
  • Queen excluder
  • Hive tool
  • Propolis
  • Brood nest

Be prepared to discuss these reflection questions in class:

What surprised you the most to learn through the reading?


Describe one misconception that you had about honeybees and/or their hives and how that has been informed and corrected by the reading.



Honeybees are social insects, living in colonies. In both the reading and video, three types of adult honeybees in a colony are mentioned: Drone, Worker, and Queen. Read pages 32–33, 40–41, and Appendix Bee of the book and complete this chart.



Role in the colony

3 Features/Characteristics








One of the primary uses of modern beekeeping is the production of honey. Where does the honey come from and how is it extracted? Read pages 26–27 and 49–55 in the book, and use your student esheet to watch the How to Extract Honey from a Honeycomb video. Answer these questions and be prepared to discuss in class:

What is the difference between pollen and nectar?


Who carries pollen and nectar to the hive?


Where is nectar stored in the honeybee carrying it to the hive?


Once it arrives in the hive, where does the nectar go?


At what percentage of water content is the nectar considered ripe honey by the bees?


Why do bees produce honey?



Did you find this resource helpful?