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 and tell you when you can expect to see bees buzzing around in your own Minecraft worlds when it launches for free later in 2019.

Back to basics

Minecraft

The legend incarnate

While Minecraft Earth hasn't quite landed on our smartphones yet, Minecraft is and has been available to anyone. If you've been wondering what all of the fuss is about (spoiler: the game deserves the praise), then Minecraft is available on almost every platform imaginable.

What are Minecraft bees?

Bees are a neutral mob (i.e., they'll only attack the player if they're provoked) that spawn naturally in bee nests that attach themselves 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 include Plains Biomes, areas with sunflowers, and forests that have an abundance of naturally occurring flowers.

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. This, combined with the various things that bees can do, makes them a valuable commodity to look out for.

How to Minecraft bees behave?

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.

  • A neutral bee will migrate back and forth between their nest or hive while they search for flowers. They stay within their nest or hive for several minutes, cycle out into the world for a few minutes, then repeat the cycle indefinitely. While bees are flying around, they will not attack the player and are otherwise harmless unless provoked.
  • Bees can pollinate flowers. If the bee finds a suitable flower, it will circle the flower for a while before it picks up pollen. Whenever a neutral bee has collected pollen, its looks will change and it will start dropping off pollen particles while it flies around. During this time, the bee has the chance to pollinate any plants or crops that it flies over. It essentially acts like portable bone meal, in that any time a pollen particle that the bee emits comes in contact with a still-growing plant, that plant will move forward one stage of growth.
  • Bees can turn aggressive, however. While bees are normally quite friendly, they will not hesitate to attack the player if certain lines are crossed. Whenever a beehive or nest is provoked, every bee in the area will gain red eyes and immediately attempt to swarm the player. Bees become provoked when one of three things happen: the player attacks or injures a member of the nest/hive; the nest/hive is destroyed completely by the player; or the player harvests honey from the nest/hive.
  • You can use campfire smoke to stop bees turning aggressive. If an active campfire is placed directly underneath the bees' nest or hive, the player can safely harvest any honey or honeycombs that they desire.
  • You don't get anything if you kill a bee.
  • A single angry bee by itself poses little threat, but three or four bees attacking in a unified swarm can cause a flurry of damage. A single bee only does 1-2 hearts of damage depending on the game's difficulty level, but a bee also has poison. If the player is stung by a bee, its poison can do 3-4 hearts of damage sustained over time.
  • Much like the real world, bees in Minecraft will lose their stinger after a single attack, and subsequently die approximately one minute later. While this means that a bee has limited potential to harm the player, it does mean that a single provocation can lead to every bee in the area inadvertently dying.

Minecraft bees are surprisingly varied in their behavior, and could get even more complex as we head towards launch before the 2019 holiday season.

Minecraft beehives and how to craft them

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 craftable 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.

  1. To begin, the player must first collect three bits of honeycomb.
  2. This can be done by waiting for a bee nest to become full of honey (something that becomes immediately obvious by its appearance).
  3. Next, use a pair of shears on the bee nest to remove the honeycomb.

    Note: For this part, it's important to have a campfire placed below or near the bee nest to prevent the bees from attacking.

  4. You combine this honeycomb with six blocks of wooden planks of any kind, and voila! You have a beehive.

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. Otherwise beehives behave exactly like bee nests, other than a different appearance.

How to breed Minecraft bees

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.

  1. All you have to do to breed two bees is feed each one a flower.
  2. In a similar fashion to breeding other animals, giving a flower to a bee will have it enter love mode.
  3. If another bee in love mode happens to be nearby, a baby bee will pop into existence.

Bees can't breed indefinitely in rapid succession. Every time a bee breeds, it requires five or so minutes in order to "recover," so to speak, 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 an 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.

Minecraft bee farming, pollination, and how to force it

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's a few ways you can ensure bees do their jobs.

  1. The first step is having multiple colonies of bees. If you have a lot of crops that could benefit from their presence. With three bees to a nest/hive, you can rather quickly guarantee a constant stream of pollen.
  2. It's also important to have a large number of flowers nearby. Bees drop pollen and fertilize crops as they're travelling between flowers and their hive home.
  3. The best strategy is to place the bee nests/hives and the flowers on opposite ends of your crops, that way the bees are forced to fly directly over them.
  4. Finally, you can trap your bees inside a glass dome or house with your crops to limit their mobility.

Minecraft honey blocks and other bee items

Along with bees and all the in-depth mechanics that accompany them are also an assortment of tasty items and blocks as well. The first and easiest item to acquire is honey.

  • 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 a glass bottle and they can collect honey straight from the source. From what I can tell, honey is essentially a substitute for sugar in the game's crafting system and may have other applications as well.
  • The second item is honeycombs. Honeycombs also require the nest/hive in question to be full of honey, but instead requires a pair of shears rather than a bottle. Honeycombs can be used to craft beehives, and may also have something to do with crafting the latest block in Minecraft: honey blocks.

Honey blocks are a new block announced at Minecon 2019 that has a host of unique mechanics that should make for a new bout of creativity.

  • Honey blocks are sticky, so players can neither jump nor run while they're standing on top of them.
  • Additionally, honey blocks can also be climbed like vines or ladders, making them a good alternative when space is constrained.
  • Finally, honey blocks are fully compatible with pistons, meaning there's a ton of potential for puzzles and traps revolving around their stickiness.

Honey blocks may very well have other attributes beyond this, which we'll soon find out when players get their paws on them. It's not certain quite yet how to craft honey blocks, but you can be fairly certain it will have something to do with bees and the items you can collect from their nests/hives. Whatever the method, this is yet another reason to encourage players to build a labyrinth of bees surrounding their Minecraft homes.

When will Minecraft bees launch?

While the exact date hasn't been released, Mojang said that bees will arrive before the 2019 holiday season. All this means for us is that a brand new bout of Minecraft will be part of this year's holiday festivities, complete with a load of fuzzy bees.

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!

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.