"Hudson? I'm not making that out too well, what is it?"
"You tell me, man, I only work here."
―Lt. Gorman and Pvt. Hudson, upon discovering the Acheron Hive (from Aliens)
Queen Hive

A Queen stalking through her Hive.

The Hive, also known as the Nest, is the nesting ground of a Xenomorph Queen, constructed from Hive webbing, a gelatinous resin secreted by Drones. It is where the Queen will reside while she is laying Eggs, a state that renders her immobile, and is where those Eggs are subsequently stored. Potential hosts captured by other Xenomorphs are brought to the Hive and cocooned to the walls — a process sometimes referred to, particularly by Colonial Marines, as being "hived" [1] — to be implanted with Chestburster embryos.


"Visibly damp and lustrous in spots, the peculiar material that had been used to construct the addition resembled a solidified liquid resin or glue. In places light penetrated the material to a depth of several centimitres, revealing a complex internal structure. At other locations the substance was opaque. What little color it dispalyed was muted: greens and grays, and here and there a touch of some darker green."
Aliens novelization, chapter 7
Hive Webbing

Hive webbing.

Hives are built from a clear, gelatinous liquid that Xenomorph Drones vomit from their mouths[2] and eventually hardens to form a dark, strong, resinous substance, known as "webbing".[3] This webbing is used to construct a warren-like maze of tunnels spreading outwards from a central Egg chamber, where the Queen will reside. It should be noted that while a Queen is typically found overseeing a Hive, one is not necessarily required for a Hive to form. Indeed, construction of a Hive may be a precursor to Queen development in many cases. In this respect, a Xenomorph Hive shares similarities in its architecture with both spider webs and wasp nests, while being directly comparable to neither.

The primary purpose of the webbing is twofold — while it provides a surface to which potential hosts can be cocooned for implantation and birth, its non-uniform, bio-organic appearance also allows adult Xenomorphs to camouflage themselves when at rest, to the extent that humans have stood directly beside hiding Warriors and had no idea of the imminent threat.[4] In the case of Hives set up inside existing non-Xenomorph structures, webbing helps to disguise existing visual cues in the environment, turning the area into a disorientating maze and making escape from and/or assaults on the Hive all the more difficult. However, whether this is considered by the Xenomorphs during construction is unclear. The structure of a Hive also appears to have a disrupting effect on motion tracker operation, generating a host of false readings that imply the entire area is awash with sporadic movement, making genuine readings harder to spot.[4][5] The exact cause of this is unclear.

The atmosphere within a Hive is typically very warm. A Queen will often locate her Hive in an area where these properties are already apparent, such as large industrial facilities where there is an abundance of ambient heat.[4][1] It is also possible the Hive structure, or perhaps the resident Xenomorphs themselves, somehow raise atmospheric temperatures within the Hive to meet this requirement.


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Club Eden at the Freya's Prospect colony, turned into a small Hive by the Xenomorphs.

Hives can vary in size from extensive nests with hundreds of members headed by an Egg-laying Queen to small chambers occupied by only a few Drones or Warriors. Occasionally, in larger infestations, smaller "satellite" Hives will be set up in the areas surrounding the main nest. While these subsidiary Hives are occasionally used for the cocooning and impregnating of hosts, more often they are simply an outlying base of operations for Xenomorph Warriors.[1] Even individual Xenomorphs operating in isolation have been known to establish small nests,[6] although this is thought to be rare as a solitary creature has little need for a Hive of its own. The largest known Hive ever discovered is that on Xenomorph Prime, which covers half a continent.

Hive Node

Main article: Hive Node

Hive nodes create the Alien life web. Drones carry dormant hive nodes in their stomach and using a gag reflex, release hive nodes on walls and on the ground. Once deposited the node uses up available organic materials from plants, carcasses, and even microorganisms to produce the hive's structure. This demonstrates the species' complete hostility toward all life forms. The life web slowly destroys the natural ecosystem of entire planets. If not in a fight an Alien can stand near a hive node and heal itself, making hive nodes a very valuable asset when infesting a planet. (Aliens versus Predator: Extinction)

Notable Hives

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A Warrior Xenomorph camouflaged in the walls of the hive.

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The Warrior moves in for the kill. The difference to this image to the one above is; the Warrior in the image above is remaining completely still so Colonial Marines can't pick them out of the hive webbing with their motion trackers. The Warrior in the second image is crawling through the hive webbing so marines can't see it moving closer. it will be read by the motion tracker but the marines won't see it in the camouflage.

A Hive was originally seen in Alien, when the Alien on board the Nostromo set up a nest in the ship's hold where it was converting its victims into new Eggs. However, this scene was ultimately cut from the theatrical release of the film, and consequently the first appearance of a Hive on film was in Aliens. The scene from Alien was reinstated in the 2003 Director's Cut.

Below is a list of notable Hives seen in various media from the Alien franchise.

Behind the Scenes

The Hive scenes in Aliens were filmed at Acton Lane Power Station in West London. The Hive itself was first sculpted in clay and then moulded in latex and fiberglass pieces.[7] The set's construction was overseen by Peter Lamont.[8] While Acton Lane was being cleaned for asbestos, Lamont's effects team spent three weeks painting the individual Hive pieces, before they were transported to the now prepared power station and assembled.[7] The further three weeks set aside for construction proved just barely sufficient; while shooting was taking place on the lower floors, the upper floors were still being built. According to Lamont, "As Jim [Cameron] came up shooting, we were gradually retreating behind."[7] The cocooned victims trapped in the Hive were mostly portrayed by sculpted dummies with faces cast from actors.[7]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Aliens vs. Predator (2010), Rebellion, SEGA [Microsoft Windows].
  2. James A. Moore. Alien: Sea of Sorrows, p. 274 (2014), Titan Books.
  3. S. D. Perry. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, p. 21 (2014), Insight Editions.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens (1986), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  5. Alien: Isolation (2014), Creative Assembly, SEGA [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One].
  6. Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers), Ridley Scott (director). Alien Director's Cut (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Monster Legacy - StarBeast — Part IIa: Aliens". Retrieved on 2015-02-24.
  8. Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 88 (2006), Titan Books.