"bees" -> "hive" in 5 letter changes or fewer

Example of "warm" -> "cold":

warm
worm
word
cord
cold

Notice that it's a real word each time. Can you get from "bees" -> "hive" in 5 letter changes or fewer?

• Do we agree that your example has four changes - not five? Oct 22, 2019 at 16:53
• What counts as a "real word", exactly?
– Deusovi
Oct 22, 2019 at 17:00
• @Wolff imo that's a fact as the question is currently stated :) warm was changed but nothing changed into warm so warm itself does not count as a change. Oct 23, 2019 at 7:01

Bees -> Beds -> Bids -> Bide -> Hide -> Hive

• I wrote some code back in 2009 for solving this kind of puzzle (using A* on the SCOWL American wordlist) and this is the exact sequence it finds :) Oct 23, 2019 at 17:37

I find five solutions using only words in SOWPODS 2019, of which one has already been posted:

BEES, BEDS, BEDE, BIDE, HIDE, HIVE
BEES, BEDS, BIDS, BIDE, HIDE, HIVE
BEES, DEES, DEVS, DIVS, DIVE, HIVE
BEES, DEES, DIES, DIVS, DIVE, HIVE
BEES, LEES, LEVS, LEVE, LIVE, HIVE

Of these, I expect the third to be the most popular with the Stack Exchange crowd...

• I think you mean "the Stack Overflow crowd"... Oct 24, 2019 at 14:40
• @JL2210 Unless you assume the two overlap enough for the preference to be maintained in the SE crowd ;) Oct 25, 2019 at 8:18

With at least one obscure word:

BEES
BIES
HIES
HIVS
HIVE

• This is the only answer that meets the "five or fewer" rule. :) +1
– Duck
Oct 23, 2019 at 4:14
• @Duck Its 5 changes, so the first word is not counted as one, so the other answers meet that rule too. This one however does the 'fewer' part, which is awesome. Oct 23, 2019 at 7:00
• @EpicKip To me it looks like five states (words) with four changes, not five. Oct 23, 2019 at 7:11
• @andselisk That is exactly what I mean which is why I said This one however does the 'fewer' part. I was just quoting the question when I said 5 changes Oct 23, 2019 at 7:13
• I don't think abbreviations should count, almost any two to five letter combination is abbreviation that was already used somewhere. Oct 23, 2019 at 13:17

Four changes using a couple of archaic/loan words and an acronym:

bees → BEVsbevebive → hive

• Hi. I don't think acronym can be a valid "word" for this type of puzzle.
– Luke
Oct 23, 2019 at 6:21
• @Luke Hi. HIV — human immunodeficiency virus — is also an acronym, and is used in another answer. Since OP hasn't mentioned use of acronyms is prohibited, I assumed it's fine to use one. Oct 23, 2019 at 6:26

BEES -> BERS -> HERS -> HERE -> HIRE -> HIVE.

1. bees
2. bens (high mountains)

3. bins (trash cans)

4. bine (plant stem, esp. hops - yum!)

5. hine (male Asian elephants without tusks; or an obsolete term for a servant)

6. hive

I only had to check number 5 for validity, I'm pleased to say.

One archaic word :

Bees -> Bets -> Bits -> Bite -> Bive -> Hive

5 changes, a little archaic...

bees
rees
revs
reve
rive
hive

Not sure if this has already been posted so trying to take an odd route:

0. bees
1. pees
2. pies
3. hies (old English)
4. HIVs (human immunodeficiency viruses)
5. hive