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How to get honeycomb in Minecraft

Those bees sure are adorable, aren't they?
By
January 12, 2023

Honeycomb is a neat item in the world of Minecraft. It’s useful for a variety of crafting needs. However, it’s also one of the more annoying materials to farm. You have to get honeycomb directly from bee nests, which angers the bees that guard it. They sting and poison players if not properly dealt with. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to get honeycomb, safely deal with bees, and utilize both bee nests and hives to their highest potential.

This tutorial was written using Minecraft v1.19.51 on a Windows 10 PC. It should be applicable to the Java, console, and mobile versions of Minecraft as well.

Read more: How to breed horses, donkeys, and mules in Minecraft

QUICK ANSWER

To get honeycomb in Minecraft, first, find a bee nest. Use a fire of some sort to smoke out the bees, which renders them docile. From there, use shears to harvest three honeycombs. As long as you don't kill the bees, you can return to the nest and harvest more honeycomb later.


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How to safely get honeycomb in Minecraft

Harvest Honeycomb Minecraft
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Harvest honeycomb without smoking the bees, and they'll charge out to sting you.

The first step in getting honeycomb from a bee nest is to find or have a nest prepared to go. The only other thing you need is a pair of shears, which you can craft with two iron ingots at any crafting table. We’ll discuss where to find bee nests and craft beehives more in the section below, so we’ll skip that for now.

Once you’ve found a beehive and have a pair of shears, you can harvest honeycomb.

  • Step 1 — Build a campfire underneath the nest or hive so that the smoke drifts up. Smoke makes the bees docile, and that lets you harvest honeycomb. We recommend digging a pit under the hive or nest and building a fire in it. That way, the fire doesn’t spread to the trees or unintentionally kill the bees. Some folks recommend building a fence around the fire in the Bedrock version or placing a carpet above it in the Java version to further protect the bees from the flames.
  • Step 2 — Once docile, equip your shears and harvest the honeycomb. On PC, you right-click and hold. Nintendo Switch players use RZ, PlayStation players use R2, Xbox Players use RT, and mobile versions tap and hold on the beehive. You can collect a maximum of three honeycombs.
  • Step 3 — Once done, douse your fire and clean up your mess.
  • Step 4 — Come back later and repeat steps 1 through 3 to collect more honeycomb.
  • Pro tip — If you kill the bees, the nest or hive will become abandoned, and it will generate no more honeycomb.

That’s more or less the whole process. You can optionally not make the bees docile before harvesting. However, they chase you until you get stung, which causes instant damage along with poison. We recommend building the campfire and smoking them out. Just be careful not to kill any of the bees.


Where to find a bee nest in Minecraft

Shearing a Bee Nest Minecraft
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Bee nests are found hanging on trees in most biomes.

 

Bee nests aren’t terribly difficult to find, but the spawn rates vary based on which biome you’re in. They also only spawn in oak trees, mangrove trees, and birch trees. Here’s each biome and the percentage chance that a tree will have a bee nest. The short version is, bee nests can spawn in almost any biome without sand or snow that also spawns trees and flowers. When you get close, you’ll hear the telltale signs of bees by the buzzing noises they make.

  • Meadow — 100% chance as long as a birch or oak tree actually spawns.
  • Plains and Sunflower plains — 5% in both Java and Bedrock editions.
  • Mangrove Swap — 5% in Java Edition and 4% chance in Bedrock edition.
  • Flower forest — 2% in Java Edition and 3% in Bedrock edition.
  • Forest, Birch forest, New growth birch forest — 0.2% in Java Edition, and 0.035% in Bedrock edition.
  • Note — Some biomes go by different names. For example, old growth birch forest is sometimes referred to as Tall Birch Forest.

The percentages above are for naturally occurring trees in each biome. You can also spawn beehives using saplings and flowers, which we’ll discuss in the next section.


How to spawn your own bee nest in Minecraft

Sapling with Flower Minecraft
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Growing a tree next to a sapling gives the tree a chance to spawn a bee nest.

 

You can spawn your own beehive in Minecraft. It’s not a difficult process, but the spawn rate is a bit low. That means you’ll likely have to try a few times to get one.

What you’ll need

  • A flower.
  • A sapling.
  • Optional: Bonemeal.

How to spawn a bee best

  • Step 1 — Plant the flower in a field somewhere in one of the aforementioned biomes.
  • Step 2 — Plant the sapling within two blocks of the flower.
  • Step 3 — Wait for the tree to grow up. It has a 5% chance of having a bee best.
  • Optional — Use bonemeal on the sapling to get it to grow faster.

Once you have the bee nest, it’ll act like any other bee nest. You can smoke the bees, harvest honeycomb, and even move it if need be.


How to craft a beehive

Craft Beehive Minecraft
Joe Hindy / Android Authority

A beehive is a craftable item that operates much like a bee nest. You can get honeycomb and honey from the beehive, and place it wherever you want. You have to supply your own bees, but otherwise, a beehive works exactly like a bee nest.

Materials you’ll need:

  • 6 planks of any wood
  • 3 honeycombs

How to craft a beehive

  • Step 1 — Using a crafting table, place 3 planks in the top row, 3 planks in the bottom row, and 3 honeycombs in the middle row.
  • Step 2 — Take your beehive out of the crafting table.
  • Step 3 — Place your hive where you want. Make sure there are flowers nearby.
  • Step 4 — Lead some bees from a nearby nest to the hive, and the bees should claim it as their own.

We’ll cover how to move bees later on in the article. Once everything is in place, the hive will produce honeycomb and honey for the player.


How to safely destroy and move a bee nest in Minecraft

Silk Touch I Minecraft
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
You need a tool enchanted with Silk Touch to harvest a bee nest without permanently destroying it.

Finally, we’ll briefly cover moving a beehive in Minecraft without permanently destroying it. That way, you can move it closer to home, or at least to a spot you can return to quickly for better and more efficient harvesting.

What you’ll need:

  • A tool with Silk Touch.
  • A bee nest or beehive.

How to safely destroy and move a bee nest

  • Step 1 — Wait for the bees to return to the nest. They do this at night or when it rains.
  • Step 2 — Use your Silk Touch tool to break the nest with the bees inside.
  • Step 3 — Pick up the nest, take it where you want, and place it.
  • Step 4 — Make sure there are flowers nearby so the bees can collect pollen.

The trick here is waiting for the bees to retreat to their nest. If you destroy the nest without the bees in it, they will wander off in search of a new hive or nest. It is much less difficult to wait for the bees to be in the nest before breaking it.


How to move bees from one nest or hive to another in Minecraft

Lead Bee with Lead Minecraft
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Yep. You can lead bees with a lead like you can other animals.

You can move bees from one hive or nest to another. It’s not the easiest task, and there are a few things that can go wrong. We’ll show the steps and how to prevent issues from occurring.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Either a flower or a lead.
  • An empty beehive or bee nest with flowers around it.

How to move bees

  • Step 1 — Either attached a lead to the bee like you would a horse or get the bee’s attention with a flower. Bees are attracted to flowers the same way sheep are attracted to wheat.
  • Step 2 — Slowly lead the bee from its existing hive or nest to the empty hive or nest. This sounds easy, but it may be a rather large distance.
  • Step 3 — Once done, the bee should claim the empty hive or nest as its own. Make sure there are flowers around for the bee to collect pollen, which gives it a reason to return to the new hive or nest.
  • Warning — The steps above seem easy, but there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Sometimes, bees disengage from the flower and fly back to their nest. Sometimes the trip is very long and taxing on the player. For both cases, we recommend setting up rest points where you can trap the bee indoors until you are ready to proceed further.

Bees are a bit more finicky than other Minecraft animals. We’ve even seen reports of bees refusing to claim the new nest or hive and flying all the way back to their original nest. Thus, this may take a few tries before the bees claim the new nest or hive as their own. Since each nest and hive can house up to three bees, you may have to repeat this process a few times to get all the bees to their new home. Once there, they will produce honeycomb and honey for you.

Up next: How to make a map in Minecraft


FAQ

A bee nest is a naturally spawning object in your Minecraft world. A beehive is an item a player crafts with wood planks and honeycomb. Outside of that, both objects behave the same way.

Use an empty bottle on the nest or the hive to harvest honey.

Unlike real life, where you can eat honeycomb, you cannot eat honeycomb in Minecraft.

It’s a crafting material. It’s most commonly used for candles, but you can also use it for waxed copper. Waxed copper doesn’t oxidize like its unwaxed counterparts.

Yes. The Wax On achievement is earned when you use honeycomb to wax an item, like copper. Wax Off is earned by using an axe to scrape the wax off of something.