Introducing our Honey Bees in Hive Alive!

Apis mellifera

Watching busy, buzzy bees at the Hive Alive! exhibit

Watching busy, buzzy bees at the Hive Alive! exhibit


The live colony of honey bees in the Hive Alive! exhibit includes one queen bee and thousands of female workers and male drones. Honey bees all over the globe pollinate flowering plants and trees, including many fruits and crops that humans depend on for food. This pollination contributes to billions of dollars in agriculture for the state of California, the United States and the world. Learn more about honey bee life cycle and what honey bees and beekeepers do, at our new exhibit expansion Hive to Honey: Honey Bees and Beekeepers at Work.


Cosponsored by Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association

Beekeeper Mike Stephanos marks queen bee with white dot

Beekeeper Mike Stephanos marks queen bee with white dot

The Hive Alive! observational hive was specially designed and constructed for Lindsay Wildlife Museum by beekeeper Mike Stephanos, who takes care of the bees and their hive. Two years in the making, the exhibit showcases the live, working hive inside a ¾” thick plexiglass housing. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association.

The bees come and go constantly via the exhibit's plexiglass bee corridor to the outside world, and are believed to be pollinating flowers and trees in Larkey Park where Lindsay Wildlife Museum is located, as well as further afield. The hive’s honey is not collected, but eaten by the Hive Alive! bees themselves.

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Bees use pollen to feed the hive community, and nectar for energy to fuel their flights and keep them alive over the long winter months. They locate and probe for nectar and easily suck it from the flowers with specialized mouth parts. Pollen rubs off from the flowers onto their legs. The bees have their own secret signals—bee dance moves—that tell the colony where to find nectar, and how to get back to the hive. Their honey is a tasty treat for other animals including bears, raccoons, and humans.

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