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Stock Beehive

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A beehive in fiction is going to look like a bunch of golden stacked donuts with a little hole in the bottom or side, right? Because that's what beehives look like, right? But, wait, aren't they just made up of honeycombs?

Whenever a beehive appears either in cartoon or a video game — or even in live-action works sometimes — it's always guaranteed to look a bit like a wasp-nest, usually the type most Americans are more familiar with: that of a bald faced hornet. However, these nests are grey and flaky, which can be hard to animate and just plain unsuitable for a story. As such, Stock Hives may actually look more like a mix of different bee and wasp species' hives.

Another aspect of the artistic license is that wasp nests are a greyish, light-brown colour, whereas fictional beehives seem to be as golden as the honey stored inside. As if that wasn't enough, honey drops may fall from the entrance just like a water drop from a dripping tap. A bees' honeycomb may be golden, but won't actually leak.

Confusing things further, domestic beehives ("skeps") prior to the invention of the moveable comb hive in the 19th century did look a bit like this, being dome-shaped structures made of (yellow) straw, although they weren't suspended from trees.


Similarly to Chekhov's Volcano, it's almost certain the bees will come out from the hole and chase the character carrying the Idiot Ball and, obviously, their honey. (Usually this is the Butt-Monkey, villains or gluttonous characters.)

Keep in mind this behaviour is anything but true in nature; most honey bees (except for africanized hybrids, a.k.a. "killer bees") will defend their hive only in desperate situations. Instead, stinging the intruder to death is a key behaviour of larger eusocial insects, such as wasps and hornets. Moreover, beehives tend to be curtain-like structures in the real world. Bees start making their honeycombs from a branch and the completed hive would look like a curtain made out from wax, either perfectly straight and flat or wrapping around a branch like a spiral.

Before the actual chase, many of the designated victims get their head stuck into the hive; another reason the animators tend to move the entrance to its bottom.


Almost always the ultimate source of Bee Afraid. Generally averted in movies and non-Disney comics. Partly caused by Small Reference Pools (it's quite hard to find a wild beehive nowadays) and justified in older works by the Grandfather Clause.


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    Fan Works 
  • The Bambi fanfic Creamed Cherries averts this. The bees that kick off the conflict accurately have their nest resting inside of a tree hollow.

    Films — Animated 
  • Believe it or not, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh started as an aversion of this trope, as the only beehive seen there (cfr. Winnie the Pooh and the honey tree) is inside a hollow in a tree, which is in keeping with how real honeybees build their hives. Other incarnations of the franchise, such as The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Winnie the Pooh, play it straight. While in the animated series beehives are as brown and egg-shaped as a large wasp nest, movies tend to shorten its length, put the entrance below and lighten its outer shell. Because of the sheer popularity of the franchise, it can be clearly considered the Trope Codifier.
  • Br'er Rabbit finds a grey one hidden in a bush in Song of the South. He tricks Br'er Bear inside saying that it's his "laughing place". Bear gets the hive stuck on his nose.
  • Averted in Kirikou And The Wild Beast. When Kirikou encounters a beehive, it looks exactly like the one in the page image, Although the bees' behavior against the hyena are not realistic.

  • Averted in The Berenstain Bears, where honeybees are portrayed nesting inside trees just like in Real Life. With the very first book The Big Honey Hunt featuring Papa and Brother following a bee to its hive inside a honey tree.

    Live-Action TV 
  • As a rare non-cartoonish example, Lost' first season's sixth episode, "House of the Rising Sun", has a few key characters dealing with a MASSIVE, paper-made underground beehive. It looks more like a dome-shaped, hollow mushroom rather than your stereotypical beehive, but it's clearly different from real world beehives nonetheless.
  • Rebuses on Concentration used this design whenever the sound of hive was needed, not only on the actual show, but also in Milton Bradley's home games.

    Video Games 
  • Don't Starve: Beehives resemble a wasp nest crossed with an old style of artificial beehive called a skep. Interestingly, Killer Bee Hives are of a different appearance but are referred as Wasp Hives in the in-game files, implying that Killer Bees were originally meant to be wasps.
  • Animal Crossing: If you shake a tree, a beehive resembling a paper wasp nest could possibly fall out, and the swarm will try and get you.
  • Terraria has giant hives deep underground in the jungle that resembles Wasp Nests. Usually forming giant hive with honeycomb patterns and honey, as well as a Queen Bee Bonus Boss.
  • Minecraft's 1.15 update adds bees along with their hives, which look like blocky versions of this trope.
    • In the Game Mod Growthcraft, bees are originally acquired from hives that look like yellowish globes dangling from tree foliage.
  • Vespiquen from Pokémon plays with this trope. Although she's a giant bee-wasp hybrid, her abdomen is shaped like a wasp hive and contains a small pattern of hexagonal cells.
  • The casual computer games Royal Envoy 2 and Royal Envoy: Campaign for the Crown have wild beehives depicted as a pineapple-shaped stack of alternating yellow and dark rings, with the hole at the bottom and the branch also at the bottom (to allow them to be placed anywhere on the scene). The bees fly over nearby building sites, rendering them inhospitable to homeowners (and lowering the happiness score). One task on some levels is to build a proper hive for the bees (tiny house-like structures with smooth walls and a roof) and thereby domesticate them.
  • Averted in Banjo-Kazooie by the regular beehives (which are shaped like a Langstroth Hive — aka, a "Bee Box"), but played straight by the Zubba Nest in Click Clock Wood. Weirdly, the Zubbas look more like hornets or wasps, but their hive is full of honey.
  • Beehives in Skyrim look exactly like wasp nests, even down to the grey colour.
  • Zigzagged in BioShock's Apiary, where the domestic beehives are of the modern "super" style, but the feral hives have hornet's nest-style horizontal combs.
  • The so-called "bees" in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess most resemble Asian Giant Hornets, both in the nests and individuals. Supplemental material more accurately calls them Hylian Hornets.

    Western Animation 
  • Nutty from Happy Tree Friends, in the episode "Take a Hike", finds a rare purple-colored variety. Bonus points for the spilling honey hitting his forehead.
  • Averted in one episode of Jungle Cubs. Baloo finds a beehive set on a cliff while sleepwalking, and said hive looks exactly like its Real Life counterpart. Oddly, the swarming bees are dumb enough to let one huge chunk of their honeycombs to fall down and be picked up by him.
  • Pluto the Pup plays with one in Springtime for Pluto as if it were a ball. Not soon after that he has to deal with the bees living inside.
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, jellyfish live in stock hives full of jelly. As with everything in the show, it falls under Rule of Funny.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • One such beehive was a decoration of Twilight's Arboreal Abode, hanging from one of the tree's branches by three short stalks anchored to the same spot of wood. It was composed of five stacked rings and narrowed going downwards, with a single opening at its bottom. It was a regular feature of shots of Twilight's home up until the latter got blown up by Tirek in the Season 4 finale.
    • "Winter Wrap Up" sees Twilight Sparkle dislodging one such beehive when she runs into a tree after getting startled by a flock of bats, which promptly lodges itself on her head.
    • In "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies", Seabreeze crashes into a beehive during his ill-fated attempt at facing the outside world by itself. Like most of the show's beehives, it is composed of a series of fat doughnut shapes stacked atop each other, thickened in the middle, tapering at its ends and attached to a branch by a short stalk. Somewhat unusually, however, it's brown rather than yellow, and doesn't seem to have a dedicated entrance hole — Seabreeze simply made a hole in its side when he crashed into it. Its inside is hollow and lined with honeycombs along the walls, each home to an adult bee rather than honey or a larva or egg, as would be the case in real life.
    • In "A Health of Information", the flash bees' hive resembles five yellow donuts stacked on top of each other, thin at the top and bottom and fat in the middle. It hangs from some unseen point in its tree's canopy by a long, vine-like stalk. Its opening is on the "donut" in the middle, and for some reason it's shaped like a cloud. It's hollow on the inside, and doesn't actually have honeycombs — just faint hexagonal markings on its walls — so it's a bit unclear where the copious quantities of honey Meadowbrook and Fluttershy extracted from it were actually kept.
    • In "Daring Doubt", a swarm of flyders — spiders with insect wings — appears inhabiting a grey variant of the classic donut-stack beehive with a single large opening in its middle, albeit draped with spiderwebs.
  • We Bare Bears: The bees in the episode "Beehive" initially live in a stock bee's nest.

    Real Life 
  • An artificial beehive looking very similar to a wasp nest was used until the 20th century on many farms. It was known as skep, a basket placed open-end down, which had been used for about 2,000 years. Unfortunately, they were too risky to use and the honey removal procedure often resulted in massive colony losses. However, the widespread use of the skep no doubt contributed to the ubiquity of this trope.
  • There are some novelty bee hives that have this look, though the entrances are mostly moved on the side. These are mostly used to attract a wild bee colony so they will assist with pollination rather than to make honey. The shape is useful here as this trope is so ubiquitous that most people will know to stay away from it.

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