A Bee Box is a craftable Structure that uses Bees to accumulate Honey that can be harvested. Bee Boxes are found in the Food Tab and require a Science Machine to prototype. It takes 1 Honeycomb, 4 Bees, and 2 Boards to build. When destroyed by a Hammer, it will return 1 Honeycomb and 1 Boards, and release any Bees inside the Box.
A Bee Box will (re)spawn a new Bee every 4 game hours (2 minutes) up to the maximum population of 4 per Box. All Bees will return to their Box at dusk, but they will leave it during daytime one at a time every 37.5 seconds. During Winter, they will not leave the Box.
Technically, Bees do not have a fixed role. Instead, the same specimen can act as a worker or a fighter depending on what the current situation calls for. Every time a Bee leaves the hive, the game assigns it a role. When a Bee returns to the hive, that role gets erased. Therefore, the same specimen can fight off a threat as a Killer Bee, enter the hive, and then re-emerge as a worker to gather pollen. Thus, Killer Bees do not slow Honey production by competing with workers for living space as they are essentially the same thing.
If a Bee is attacked or caught with a Bug Net, all members of the hive still inside the Box will emerge immediately as Killer Bees and engage. Additionally, all surrounding Bees less than about a screen away - killer or otherwise - will join the fight. The combined number of attackers coming to help can not exceed 10 unless the player attacks another Bee.
After harvesting their Honey, all remaining Bees in the Bee Box will emerge as workers and attack while those that were already outside will ignore the threat unless the player fights back. If it is winter, the bees will not emerge to attack when honey is harvested (but they also don't emerge to produce honey during this time).
Reign of Giants Edit
Bee Boxes in the Reign of Giants DLC are flammable. Also during Spring, all Bees from both Bee Boxes and Beehives will spawn as Killer Bees. Despite this change, the Bees will continue to pollinate Flowers and produce Honey all season.
In addition, Bee Boxes will now start spawning Bees or Killer Bees when in Caves or Ruins, making mass production of honey possible underground.
The speed at which Bees gather Honey is affected by the quantity and proximity to Flowers near a Bee Box. Every time a Bee successfully pollinates 6 Flowers, it will return home and increase the Honey contained within by 1. The same Flower cannot be pollinated twice by the same Bee within one trip or by two Bees at the same time. If a Bee doesn't manage to collect enough Flowers before dusk, it will have to start all over the following morning. For these reasons, having too few Flowers around a Bee Box can potentially halt production entirely.
Even though Caves have their own day and night cycle and are in a permanent summer, Bee Boxes built underground will not spawn Bees. This is true even if the Box is built in a place where natural light can be found. The same applies to the Ruins since it is considered a permanent night there. However, if the Boxes are far enough from the player, the simplified model of Honey production will take over and Honey will be produced at a rate of 1 per day, in both Caves and Ruins. If the Bee Box is then harvested, the bees will emerge and engage the player. When they disengage, they will behave, as on the surface, according to the time of day (i.e. stay out and visit flowers or return to the box).
Bee Boxes can contain anywhere between 0 and 6 Honey. Visually they progress through 4 different stages to indicate Honey saturation at 0, 1-2, 3-5 and 6 units respectively. For example, a bee box at stage 3 (almost full) may contain between 3 and 5 pieces of Honey.
Typical harvesting is a slow process with low-risk and easy repeatability. Players can use the Beekeeper Hat while harvesting Honey to reduce damage from Bees by 80%. Ideally, Honey should be collected when all bees are working outside. In this case, they will ignore the player entirely. The time this is most likely to occur is right before dusk and about 4 game hours into the day. It is also safe to harvest any time during Winter, as the Bees will not appear or attack when the player activates the Bee Box.
- If honey is collected when all bees are working outside, they will ignore the player entirely. The time this is most likely to occur is right before dusk and about 4 game hours into the day.
- Alternatively, one can collect honey early in the day to force the bees to exit their Bee Box sooner. This can increase how much honey they collect in a day. Care should be taken as a large number of bees can easily kill an inexperienced player.
- A good way to get honey faster is to capture some Butterflies with a Bug Net and plant them as Flowers near the box, increasing efficiency of bees for collecting honey.
- Bees are slow and can easily be outrun if aggravated. Their kite attacks can even create a larger distance between themselves and the player. It will only take a few seconds of running before Bees will lose interest.
- Keep Boxes close to the base. If the player gets too far away, the game hibernates all bees and switches to a simplified model to simulate Honey production, which yields considerably less Honey. This tip is less effective in the Reign of Giants DLC, as all Bees become aggressive for the entirety of the Spring season, unless the player uses Walls to isolate the area.
Apiary (Bee Farm) Edit
See also: Farming - Bees and Honey
A good way to produce Honey on a large scale is to build a Bee farm.
Capture Butterflies and plant them together for the flowers, then build a few Bee Boxes nearby. When planting the flowers, care should be taken to not plant them too tightly together, as this actually prevents the bees from reaching some of the flowers. Leave at least one single flower's length on all sides around each flower.
This general setup can yield great amounts of Honey per day when dealing with larger amounts of Bee Boxes. The Bees can also be captured for crafting Bee Mines. Additionally, the farm should be protected with at least some fire-resistant Walls and a few Lightning Rods, as fires can devastate Bee farms due to the large amount of Flowers present.
- In the old science system, it used to cost 100 Research Points to craft.
- The honeycomb slot on top of Bee Boxes will appear to fill with Honey as more Honey is stored within.
- Occasionally at dusk, Bees will get stuck next to their Box. New Bees do not spawn when there are stuck Bees. They will stay this way indefinitely until caught or attacked. Reloading the game will work too.
- Sometimes, Bees from the Bee Box will waste time by spinning constantly over Flowers until dusk. This can be fixed by attacking the bee or picking the Flowers that are causing the problem or reloading the game.
- In the Winter, Bee Boxes will still produce Honey if the player is very far away from them because it will default to the 'one Honey per day' production model.