If you use a particular material a lot in Minecraft, it's undoubtedly a pain to hunt for it in the open world. This has led thousands of players to breed their own cows for leather, pigs for meat, and chickens for eggs (among many others). In the same line of thinking, Bees can also be trapped and farmed consistently.
There are a few more steps in the process than there are for other animals, but the sweet sweet honey you get in return will be worth it. There are lots of ways to optimize and automate your Bee farm with Dispensers, Observers, and Redstone, but this guide will tell you the basics of relocating a group of Bees.
Where Do Bees Spawn?
Bees spawn with Bee Nests, a naturally occurring item that has a chance to appear on trees in certain biomes:
- Plains (5% chance of spawning per tree)
- Sunflower plains (5% chance of spawning per tree)
- Flower forest (2-3% chance of spawning per tree)
- Forest (0.035-0.2% chance of spawning per tree)
- Wooded hills (0.035-0.2% chance of spawning per tree)
- Birch forest (0.035-0.2% chance of spawning per tree)
- Tall birch forest (0.035-0.2% chance of spawning per tree)
- Tall birch hills (0.035-0.2% chance of spawning per tree)
Step 1: Building A New Place To Live
Bee Nests will break upon impact and drop nothing unless you have the Silk Touch enchantment. If you do have the Silk Touch enchantment, you can actually skip this step (until you want to create more Beehives) and just take down the Bee Nest. Just be sure to do this at a time when Bees are inside it since those Bees can travel with you inside the item and won't become angry.
To move them from their natural habitat, you'll need to build a new place for them to live. These player-built homes are called Beehives and are made using 6 Planks (any kind) in two rows along the top and bottom, and a row of 3 Honeycombs along the centre.
In order to get the Honeycomb you need to build your own Beehive, you'll need to have a little patience. Bees slowly build up honey in their home over time, and it needs to be at the maximum capacity (level 5) before you can get any Honeycomb. You'll know it's at level 5 because the Bee Nest changes and begins to drip honey.
At this point, you can use Shears on the nest in order to get Honeycombs. Keep in mind that this will anger the bees! If you want to avoid that, look below for details about keeping bees calm.
Step 2: Placing Your Beehive
If you're moving bees, it's probably because their Bee Nest is too far away from wherever you've set up a base. Keep in mind, though, that bees spawned where they did for a reason. Namely, flowers.
If you're going to relocate a colony of bees, you need to make sure that the new place where they're going to live will have lots of flowers for them to collect pollen from. While bees can journey pretty far away from the hive if they have to, it's much more efficient (and rewarding for you) to provide flowers nearby for them.
Step 3: Coaxing The Bees Away From Home
Now that you've placed your Beehive somewhere new, you'll need to convince the Bees to move in there. Thankfully, each Beehive only holds three Bees, so it won't be a process you need to repeat too many times.
The traditional ways to do this for other animals also work on bees:
- Using leads
- Luring (with flowers)
However, the most convenient method is by using the Silk Touch enchantment. In the rain and at night, bees return to their hive. You can pick up the hive at that time and all the bees inside will travel with it. Then, just place it in the preferred location.
Harvesting The Fruits Of Your Labour
Ensuring Bees Won't Attack
Before you can take anything from the Beehive or Bee Nest, you'll need to ensure you won't upset the bees first. If they do become angry, they will sting you (causing you to be poisoned) and subsequently die.
To avoid this catastrophe of Bee suicides, you'll need to light campfires under the Beehive or Bee Nest. When there is smoke passing through it, Bees won't become angered if you harvest from them.
What you do once you've harvested, though, depends on what version of Minecraft you're running.
If you're on the Bedrock Edition: bees can be damaged by fire, so the fire needs to be put out immediately after you've finished harvesting.
If you're on the Java Edition: bees can still be damaged by fire, but it's possible to put a carpet over the top of the fire. This covered campfire won't damage the bees, it'll only create smoke. You can leave it there permanently now! If you plan to use this method, however, be sure to put two blocks of space between the Beehive or Bee Nest and the ground, so there's space for both items.
Harvesting From Beehives
Now that everything is set up for you, you can start harvesting. There are two products that a Beehive or Bee Nest can give you:
- If you use Shears on the hive, you'll get honeycomb. On top of being used to make more Beehives and expand your farm, they can be crafted into a Honeycomb Block or Candles and used to preserve Copper Blocks.
- If you use a Glass Bottle on the hive, it will fill up with honey and turn into a Honey Bottle. The Honey Bottles are a great way to get rid of a poison effect without losing your buffs, or they could also be used to make Honey Blocks (which reduce fall damage, slow movement, and even drag enemies when attached to pistons).
Expanding The Farm
If you decide it's worth it to have more than one Beehive hanging around, there are only two steps to expanding your little empire:
- Build and place more Beehives using the honeycomb from the first
- Breed Bees to occupy the other Beehives by feeding them flowers
Keep in mind that each Beehive only houses 3 bees.
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