Bees in Minecraft are equal parts adorable, useful, and threatening. Bee Farms are very important for harvesting Honey Bottles and Honeycomb, but first you need to know how to avoid antagonising Bees as you farm the honey. And before that, you need to know how to find them in the first place!
Below I'll walk you through how to get and breed Bees in Minecraft, along with explanations on the differences between Beehives and Bee Nests, how Bees behave, how pollinating works, and how to harvest Honey and Honeycomb.
How to get Bees in Minecraft
Bees naturally spawn in groups of 3 inside Bee Nests. Bee Nests will only spawn in oak and birch trees within certain biomes.
Here are the possible biomes where Bee Nests can spawn, from highest to lowest chance:
- Sunflower Plains (5%)
- Plains (5%)
- Flower Forest (2%)
- Forest (0.2%)
- Birch Forest (0.2%)
- Tall Birch Forest (0.2%)
- Birch Forest Hills (0.2%)
- Tall Birch Hills (0.2%)
- Wooded Hills (0.2%)
Beehive and Bee Nest: what's the difference?
The main difference between a Bee Nest and a Beehive is that Beehives are crafted by the player, whereas Bee Nests are naturally spawned during world generation.
They also look different, with Bee Nests sporting the more familiar stripe pattern as opposed to the Beehive's slightly more brick-like texture. But otherwise they work in exactly the same way: they are both housing blocks for up to 3 Bees.
To make a Beehive in a Crafting Table, place any wooden planks along the top and bottom rows, and fill the middle row with 3 Honeycomb (see below for an example).
How to breed Bees
To get two Bees to breed, simply give them each a flower. Bees will follow any nearby player holding a flower, and giving one to a Bee will cause them to enter "Love Mode".
Much like other breedable animals such as Foxes, Horses, Goats, and Axolotls, while in Love Mode Bees will seek out other nearby Bees in Love Mode. When they find such a mate they'll pair off and breed, producing a baby Bee. This will give the player a small amount of XP.
It takes a single in-game day for a baby Bee to reach adulthood, but this can be sped up by "feeding" the baby Bee more flowers (each flower reduces remaining time by a tenth of a day). Bees that have just bred cannot breed again until 5 minutes have passed.
One important note: both the breeding cooldown and the growth rate are paused for any Bee that is inside a Beehive or Bee Nest, so it's often a good idea while attempting to breed Bees to break the hives and replace them later.
Bee Behaviour and Pollinating
As you'll know if you've read our guide to Minecraft mobs, Bees are Neutral mobs, which means they'll only attack you if provoked. You provoke a Bee by:
- Attacking a nearby Bee;
- Destroying a nearby Beehive/Bee Nest;
- Extracting Honey/Honeycomb from a Nest which doesn't have a Campfire beneath it.
If a Bee is angry towards a player, it will attempt to sting them, dealing damage and poisoning the player for a short time. You can lessen the effect of this by using Potions. The Bee will lose its stinger after the attack, meaning it cannot attack again; and it will die shortly afterwards.
If you wish to kill a Bee, then it's good to remember: they are classed as an Arthropod, which means the Bane Of Arthropods enchantment will increase your damage against it. An alternative is to run away, because Bees will stop being hostile if they do not sting their target within 25 seconds of being provoked.
A large part of a Bee's behaviour is pollination. During the night Bees stay in their hives, but during the day they'll wander up to 22 blocks away from their home in search of pollen.
If they find a flower (not in a flower pot) or a berry bush it will take time to collect pollen from it. The Bee will then return the pollen to its nest, and any growable crop they fly over along the way will be pollinated, which has the same effect as bone meal: it will speed up the growth of that crop.
How to harvest Honey and Honeycomb at a Bee Farm
Bee Farms are useful for harvesting both Honey and Honeycomb, which are two resources that have different purposes.
To harvest Honeycomb, you'll need to use Shears on a Beehive or Bee Nest that has reached a "honey level" of 5.
To harvest Honey, right-click on the Beehive or Bee Nest with an empty Glass Bottle. This will fill the bottle with Honey.
Honey can be placed in a crafting window to produce 3 Sugar, or you can put 4 Honey in a 2x2 grid to create a Honey Block, a block which deters and slows mobs, and lowers fall damage for anything that lands on it.
Make sure you place a lit Campfire under any Beehive or Bee Nest that you're about to harvest Honey or Honeycomb from, as this will stop the Bees from attacking you when you do so.
To make a Campfire in a Crafting Table window, fill the bottom row with 3 Logs, place 1 Coal in the middle of the grid, and then place 3 sticks above and to the left and right of the Coal, as you see below:
Bees may be dangerous under certain circumstances, but I've always found them to be a beautiful outdoor sight while exploring new Minecraft worlds. If you have the itch to explore and discover new lands, be sure to check out our list of the best Minecraft seeds. And if you really want to make your new world pop, be sure to check out our page on the best Minecraft shader packs.