Block of the Week: Honeycomb
An un-bee-lievable block!
Minecraft’s Buzzy Bees update, which was released in December 2019, added quite a lot of different blocks to the game – the bee nest, the beehive, the honey block, a ridiculous swarm of bee puns, and finally our block of the week – the honeycomb block.
The bee nest is where bees live in the wild. The beehive is where bees live when you catch them. Honey blocks do a lot of interesting things. Which just leaves the honeycomb block, which does... er... well, not very much actually. It mostly just sits there looking pretty. Which I can relate to because that’s also essentially my function in life.
Nonetheless, perhaps you want a honeycomb block! Perhaps you have the urge to build a bee-themed house, or go a step further and roleplay actually being a bee. In which case, never let it be said that Minecraft is not there for you. But there are a few steps you’re going to go through to get hold of one.
Step one is to find some bees. You’ll see them buzzing around the game’s plains and forests biomes. Step two – make some shears. You’ll need two iron ingots arranged diagonally in a crafting grid. Step three – locate the bees’ nest. This isn’t always easy to do, so if you’re having trouble then follow a bee around for a while. At dusk, or if it starts raining, the bee will return to its nest, allowing you to find it.
Step four is to inspect the nest – is it literally dripping with honey? Great! If not then you’ll need to wait a while for the bees to do their buzzy work. Once it’s dripping, then step five is to use your shears on the bee nest to gather honeycomb. Honeycomb blocks are made from that honeycomb, winning the “well, duh” award for obviousness, but stealing the bees’ honeycomb will make them angry, so step six is to RUN!
Finally, once you’re at a safe distance from the angry bees, you can go ahead and plonk four of your honeycomb items into a crafting grid in a square. If you’ve done it right, then out will pop a honeycomb block, which you’re free to do whatever you want with. Except that. Wow, why would you want to do that?
In the real world, honeycomb is a real thing that bees use to house their larvae and their stores of food. You can see why stealing it makes them angry, right? The queen bee lays an egg in each cell of the honeycomb, gluing it to the bottom of the cell, which then hatches in a few days. The hatchling larvae are fed for a few days, then the cell is capped with a layer of wax so that they can grow into actual bees, which hatch after a few weeks.
One thing that’s kind of amazing about honeycomb is how the bees build its structure into near-perfect hexagons. There are a few theories about why they do this – one is that a grid of hexagons uses the least amount of material to create its walls than any other shape. The other is that it just results from lots of bees trying to make same-sized cells – like how soap bubbles clustered together form similar shapes along their borders.
We can’t exactly ask the bees why they do it, so it will probably remain a mystery. Instead of worrying about it, it’s probably best to just go play some Minecraft instead. That’s what I’m going to do anyway. Bye!