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Hive Nodes are healing points for Xenomorphs created by Drones. They were used by aliens who couldn't heal themselves immediately after being damaged, and extended the hive as well as offering a safe haven for damaged aliens. Queens and Queen Mothers also secrete these when immobilized on an egg sack.
Despite being immobile, the node is a living creature that grows acid-secreting tendrils into whatever it's attached to. These tendrils leech nutrients from the surrounding area -- be it soil or even metal -- and package them into easily-absorbed nutrients for Xenomorphs. When they are damaged too greatly, they die and so does the ability they carry.