Minecraft Guide to Bees: Honey blocks, beehives, release date, and more

They're helping me farm

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Even ten years after its initial beta release Minecraft continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace in its quest to develop a natural world teeming with life. The latest addition to Minecraft recently has been the arrival of, you guessed it, bees! In this guide, we'll go over every absurd detail about the new Buzzy Bees update coming to all platforms December 10 and 11.

What are bees?

Bees are a neutral mob — they'll only attack when they've been attacked — that spawn naturally in bee nests attached to oak or birch trees. They're a fan of flowers so they have a higher chance of spawning in places that have a lot of flowers and the specific trees that they enjoy. This includes the plains, sunflower plains, and particularly the uncommon flower forest biome.

They have a relatively low chance of spawning on a tree, and only do so when the world is initially created, so there won't be a nest on every single tree. On top of that, trees infrequently spawn in two of the three biomes that bees can appear in, making them even more rare.

How do bees behave?

Look at this cutey

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Exhibiting their own unique behaviors and abilities, bees introduce a new suite of mechanics to Minecraft's already-abundant ecosystems. This means that there a few things to look out for whenever you're interacting with bees, and things you should or shouldn't do.

The bees present in Minecraft will have three distinct "forms," so to speak, that drastically alter how they behave around the player. This is when the bees are either neutral, carrying pollen, or provoked.

Neutral bees

A neutral bee

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

A bee's default state is neutrality. Most of their time will be spent in search of flowers near their hive to collect pollen from, and the rest of it will be spent chilling out in their nests with their family.

  • Neutral bees will not attack players. Unless a bee is otherwise provoked by being attacked or having its hive or nest sabotaged, it will not attack any players.
  • Bees like their nests. They will stay in their nest for at least 2 full minutes whenever they return to it, before heading back out.
  • Bees come out one at a time. They'll take turns exiting their nests, so it's uncommon to see the entire family out at once.

Pollinated bees

A pollinated bee

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The primary benefit to be gained from having bees around is their ability to pollinate. This also happens to be their favorite thing in the world to do, so you don't have to push much to get them in the mood.

  • Bees search for flowers. While it's possibly random, bees seem to choose flowers. Once they've found a suitable choice, the bee will circle the flower multiple times before it picks up its pollen.
  • A pollinated bee looks different. The appearance of a bee carrying pollen changes, and their fuzzy butts become covered in pollen. You'll also notice a particle effect as pollen drops off the bees as they fly around.
  • Bees can pollinate plants and crops. If any of those aforementioned pollen particles that fall off a bee comes in contact with a plant or crop that isn't fully grown, that fauna will move forward one stage of growth. Much like using bone meal.
  • Bees take pollen back to their nests. Once a bee has acquired its bounty, it'll make its way back to its nest. If a bee returns to its nest carrying a load of pollen, the nest fills up with a little honey.

Aggressive bees

An angry bee

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Last but not least, you have the angry bees. These guys have bright red eyes and aren't very happy with basically anyone in the area. You'll want to avoid getting bees angry, because they're a danger to you and also to themselves.

  • Bees can be provoked. While bees are normally quite friendly, they will not hesitate to defend their own. Whenever a bee turns aggressive, their eyes will turn red and all bees in the immediate area attempt to swarm the player.
  • Three things will provoke a bee. If a player attacks or injures a bee; if the nest or hive is destroyed by a player; or if a player harvests honey from a nest or hive. Any of these things will cause all bees in the area to turn aggressive.
  • Use campfires to calm bees. If a player wishes to harvest honey from a nest or hive without being attacked, placing a campfire under it will placate the bees. The smoke calms them so that they do not attack.
  • Bees use their stingers to attack. Probably to no surprise, bees attack players and other threats by stinging them. These stingers inflict only 1-2 hearts of damage depending on the game's difficulty, but they also inflict poison damage that deals 3-4 hearts of damage over time.
  • A single bee poses little threat. Individual bees can only do so much with their stingers, so they're not much to worry about. However, three or four bees attacking in unison can quickly overwhelm an unprepared player.
  • Bees die after stinging. Much like in the real world, a bee will lose its stinger and subsequently die after attacking. A bee dies approximately one minute after stinging. While this means that a bee has limited potential to harm a player, it does mean that a single provocation can lead to every bee in the area inadvertently dying.

How do you craft beehives?

Some beehives

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Because of the scarcity of naturally occurring bees in Minecraft, you'll be able to create your own nests with the addition of a brand-new crafted block: beehives. Keep in mind, crafting beehives still require an original source of bees, but once you have a small group you can breed your own bees into a bustling society. Even better, building your own beehive is incredibly easy as long as you can find a bee nest somewhere in your Minecraft game.

To craft a beehive, follow these steps:

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Wait for a bee nest or hive to become full of honey. After a bee deposits pollen in a bee nest or hive five times, its appearance will change and it'll start dripping with honey.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Use a pair of shears on the bee nest or hive. It should drop three honeycombs, which you'll definitely need.Note: For this part, it's important to have a campfire placed below or near the bee nest to prevent the bees from attacking.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Combine this honeycomb with six wooden planks of any kind. Take your new honeycomb with some wood to a crafting table and create a sandwich with the planks on top and bottom and the honeycomb in the center.

Beehives are placeable almost anywhere in the overworld and can store up to three bees. There's no real limit to the number of hives you can create. Beehives are also able to be broken and moved around as much as you want, unlike bee nests which require a tool enchanted with Silk Touch.

Just bear in mind that bees will still turn aggressive and attack you if you destroy their nest unless a campfire is placed underneath the hive. Using a tool enchanted with Silk Touch on a hive or nest will break it with all the bees preserved inside, so that you can move all of them at once.

How do you breed bees?

I believe I can fly!

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Where do the bees come from? Well as usual Mojang has been thorough, and they're also introducing a variety of ways to either breed your own bees or lead new ones to the home of your choice.

To breed a bee, simply do the following:

  1. Find two bees. A little known secret: the art of creating life requires two. Find two bees that are close to each other.
  2. Feed each bee a flower. Cows need wheat, pigs need carrots, bees need flowers.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. The bees should enter love mode. If the bees are ready to breed, they should start emitting a bunch of hearts.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Witness the beauty of creation. After a few seconds, a baby bee should pop into existence near the two adult bees.

Bees cannot breed in rapid succession. Every time a bee breeds, it requires five or so minutes before it's ready to breed again. Beyond that, a baby bee takes about two full in-game days to grow into an adult. The player can hasten this process by feeding the baby bee flowers. Using this process, the player only has to procure two original bees in order to have a near infinite supply.

Bees will follow the player if the player is holding a flower in their hand, so the player can shepherd multiple bees away from their nest and force them to accept their beehive as their new home. Alternatively, using a lead is another way of collecting a few bees.

The final method takes advantages of a bee nest or beehive's inherent limitation. A maximum of three bees can live in any one nest/hive, and if the population of the bees there were to expand beyond three, the extra bees would need to find a new home. Bees have a surprisingly large radius in which they'll search for a new home, meaning the player can introduce bees to your artificial hives by simply growing the population beyond what the original nest can support.

On the other hand, this also means that if the original nest is destroyed, every bee inside will immediately begin searching for a new home. For this particular method to work, it's doubly important to have a campfire handy to subdue the bees before destroying their nest.

How do you use bees and pollination for farming?

My bee farm from a different angle

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One of the most useful things bees will do for the player in Minecraft is accelerating the growth of food and other plants. Those of you who enjoy farming in Minecraft will be far more efficient just by having a few bee nests/hives around the place. There are a few ways you can ensure bees do their jobs:

  1. Have multiple colonies of bees. If you have a lot of crops that could benefit from their presence, the more bees you have the better. With three bees to a nest/hive, you can rather quickly guarantee a constant stream of pollen.
  2. Plant lots of flowers nearby. Bees drop pollen and fertilize crops as they're travelling between flowers and their hive home. Having a ton of flowers around your crops will encourage bees to stay close.
  3. Keep your crops between the bees and the flowers. Force your bees to have to fly directly over your crops during trips to and from their flowers. On their return trip, it's almost guaranteed that they'll pollinate some crops.
  4. Build a glass dome over your crops and bees. You can also build a pseudo-greenhouse by erecting a glass dome over the whole operation. If your bees can't meander, they can't waste their precious pollen elsewhere.

Following this advice means you can have an infinite supply of any crop you grow at any time. Wouldn't be hard to fill chests with food when you have a near harvest ready to collect every few seconds.

What are all the bee-related items?

Oh boy, new blocks!

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Along with bees and all the in-depth mechanics that accompany them are also an assortment of tasty items and blocks. All of these items are either harvested from bee nests and hives, or crafted from ingredients collected from them.

  • Honey. The sweet, sticky nectar that bees are famous for is in Minecraft, and it's pretty neat. Honey can be collected from a bee nest or hive that is full of honey. All the player has to do is approach the nest/hive with an empty glass bottle and tap/click the use button. Honey is a food item that restores 3 bars of hunger and also cures poison if the player is affected. It is also used to craft honey blocks, and can be converted to sugar for other recipes.
  • Honeycombs. While honey is collected from a full nest or hive via an empty glass bottle, honeycombs are collected by using a pair of shears on a full nest or hive. Anytime you do so you'll get three honeycombs, which is the perfect amount to build a manmade beehive. Honeycomb can also be used to craft a new decorative block added to Minecraft.

Honeycomb block recipe

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Honeycomb block. A purely decorative block crafted by combining four bits of honeycomb. Much like terracotta, honeycomb blocks are only there to spice up the look of your humble abode, but I'm positive someone out there will do something incredible with these things.

Arguably the biggest addition to Minecraft with the Buzzy Bees update — besides the bees, obviously — is the new honey block. Honey and honeycombs come off as means to an end, rather than a fully unique and new addition to Minecraft. Honey blocks, on the other hand, are versatile blocks that bring with them a whole new host of mechanics that should make for a new bout of creativity. Here's a quick run down:

Honey block recipe

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Honey blocks are crafted from honey. To be precise, four glass bottles of honey combined via crafting table will lead to one honey block.
  • Honey blocks are sticky. As they are made of honey, honey blocks are sticky. What this means is that mobs and players cannot jump nor run while they're standing on honey blocks; items and other blocks will stick to a honey block, even while moving; honey blocks greatly slow your fall, leading to some interesting parkour possibilities.
  • Honey blocks can be used with redstone. One of the most exciting things about honey blocks is that they behave very similarly to slime blocks, except for two things: slime blocks bounce items, mobs and players rather than stick to them, and honey blocks do not allow a redstone signal to pass through them. This may not mean much to more casual Minecraft players, but to redstone wizards the gears have already started turning in their heads.

When does the Buzzy Bees update launch?

After a long wait of constant teasing and snippets of game footage, the Buzzy Bees update is officially launching on December 10 and 11, 2019, depending on time zones. Just in time for the holiday season!

Are you excited for the upcoming update? What's your favorite part? Share the buzz down in the comments!

Awesome Minecraft merch

We love Minecraft just as much as you do. These are some of our favorite Minecraft accessories.

Minecraft Guide Book Collection ($25 at Amazon)

Want to learn more about the intricacies of Minecraft? These awesome books make for a great gift, or learning experience for a younger loved one!

Minecraft Creeper T-shirt (From $7 at Amazon)

For the creeper in your life!

Creeper Hat ($14 at Amazon)

The spookiest hat of them all. Thankfully, it doesn't explode.

Minecraft Pig Plushie ($18 at Amazon)

Creepers too ugly? Try this cutesy plushie instead!

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.