The phrase "busy as a bee" probably stems from the concept of the honey bee hive itself.
For individuals who are wondering how does a bee hive work, it is important to know what comprises the hive.
The actual hive is defined as an enclosed structure where the honey bees lay their young.
Man-made structures, typically an apiary, are also referred to as bee hives where the colony lives.
The interior of the actual hive is similar in structure of a heavily hexagonal shaped structure, where the matrix of cells are called the honey comb.
Food such as pollen and honey are stored by the bees in these small cells.
The honey bee hive is typically structured with the queen bee as the "leader" where the worker bees, are her followers.
The queen bee's main function is to reproduce with worker bees, in order to create the drones. Once a new virgin queen bee emerges, the original queen bee will leave that hive.
Worker bees gather pollen and nectar which is carried back to the nest.
Workers also store supplies, care for the queen, the babies, clean the nest and maintain the internal structure of the hive, to ensure it functions smoothly, reproduction, and to ensure honey is produced at its highest volume possible.
Other workers provide water to the hive, and help to provide protection to all members which make up the hive colony.
This typically occurs from early March to mid July; once the bee population grows larger, swarming sites are created, to ensure the hive doesn't become overly populated, the queen could be unhappy or too old and leaves with some workers, can occur if the hive is too hot, too small.
New hive locations are sought out by worker bees during this period as well.
During this process, new hives and colonies are created, which allow the existing structure to survive, allow the bees to continually reproduce, and allow the hive to function normally and efficiently, to produce honey for the year.
The traditional hive is that which is created by bees; however, today there are also many man-made hives, which are typically kept in an apiary location.
As these hives are typically used for honey production, as opposed to maintaining a colony alive, they are typically harvested several times during the year, and are maintained by professional bee keepers, in order to ensure max production and to ensure the main worker bees continually produce honey at the highest levels during the course of the year.
Different hives are going to have different functions; and, depending on whether they are made in nature, or are man-made, the hives are going to function in different manners.
But, as is the case with most hives, they function under the queen bee, who in turn passes her power down to a new queen bee, once it is fully grown and developed.
The hive continues to thrive, and develop new swarms over time, allowing it to grow, thrive, and continue to produce for the worker bees in the colony.