The Breton concept of kôlôen-wénan is formed from the words kôlô (which can be translated as “straw”) and wénan (translatable as “bees”). This notion led to the Celtic kolmēnā, which came to our language as a hive.
The place where bees live is called a hive. This is the site occupied by a colony of these insects: the colony in question can even be called a hive. About 80,000 bees can live in the hives, including drones, workers and the queen bee.
Worker bees are the most numerous in a hive. They are infertile females that are dedicated, among other activities, to cleaning and protecting the hive, building wax combs and producing royal jelly. Drones, for their part, are male bees, which fertilize queen bees.
The beekeepers are individuals dedicated to raising bees. These people can create apiaries, also called apiaries, which are the spaces where the hives are distributed.
It is possible to differentiate between rustic hives (developed by bees in a spontaneous and natural way, without the participation of human beings) and artificial hives (manufactured by man with the intention of obtaining the honey produced by bees). In this second group, it is possible to distinguish between hives with mobile combs and hives with fixed combs, which can also be horizontal, vertical or reproduction hives.
When an elderly queen bee leaves a hive with a group of workers to develop another colony, a swarm is formed through the process known as swarming.
It is important to note that the way in which bees build their hives is not much like that used by other social insects, such as ants and bumblebees. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the beginning of a new swarm and, consequently, of a colony occurs when an elderly queen bee leaves her hive along with many workers, leaving the younger queen in charge.
Human-made hives have several well-differentiated parts, which can be purchased separately or made at home, depending on the degree of skill of each beekeeper:
* the floor and the flight deck;
* the lower lift (also called the brood chamber);
* the myeliferous rise;
* the liner, which has a hole through which it is possible to feed the bees in particular cases. One of the most common materials for its manufacture is wood;
* the roof;
* moving pictures.
Once beekeepers manufacture or purchase an artificial hive, it is time to find the swarm. To do this, they check trees where there are natural hives and make use of a net similar to that used to hunt butterflies, or they bring the hive closer and direct the swarm inside with the help of smoke.
There are several procedures used to trap bees and get them to adapt to their new habitat, so that they start working on honey production. It goes without saying that beekeeping is an activity that deprives bees of their freedom and is therefore strongly opposed by animal advocates.
The writer Camilo José Cela published in 1951 a novel entitled La colmena through the publishing house Emecé Editores. Given its content, which makes various references to topics not tolerated at that time by the Franco dictatorship, the book could not be published in Spain until 1955, when Manuel Fraga was appointed Minister of the Interior. Broadly speaking, we can say that the work is fragmented into many short anecdotes that cross each other, as if it were the cells of a beehive.