A honey bee named Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) has recently graduated from college and is about to enter the hive’s Honex Industries honey-making workforce alongside his best friend Adam Flayman (Matthew Broderick). Barry is initially excited to join the workforce, but his courageous, non-conformist attitude emerges upon discovering that his choice of job will never change once picked. Later, the two bees run into a group of Pollen Jocks, bees who collect pollen from flowers outside the hive. The Jocks offer to take Barry outside the hive to a flower patch, and he accepts. While on his first pollen-gathering expedition in New York City, Barry gets lost in the rain, and ends up on the balcony of a human florist named Vanessa (Renée Zellweger). Upon noticing Barry, Vanessa’s boyfriend Ken (Patrick Warburton) attempts to squash him, but Vanessa gently catches and releases Barry outside the window, saving his life.
Barry later returns to express his gratitude to Vanessa, breaking the sacred rule that bees are not supposed to communicate with humans. Barry and Vanessa develop a close bond, bordering on attraction, and spend time together frequently. Later, while Barry and Vanessa are walking through a grocery store, Barry is terrified to discover that the humans have been stealing and eating the bees’ honey for centuries. He decides to journey to Honey Farms, which supplies the grocery store with its honey. Furious at the poor treatment of the bees in the hive, including the use of bee smokers to subdue the colony, Barry decides to sue the human race to put an end to the exploitation of bees.