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Sensor networks have their own distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other types of networks. Several techniques have been proposed in the literature to address some of the fundamental problems faced by a sensor network design. Most of the proposed techniques attempt to solve one problem in isolation from the others; hence, protocol designers have to face the same common challenges again and again. This, in turn, has a direct impact on the complexity of the protocols and on energy consumption. Instead of using this approach, we propose BEES, a lightweight bioinspired backbone construction protocol, that can help mitigate many of the typical challenges in sensor networks by allowing the development of simpler network protocols. We show how BEES can help mitigate many of the typical challenges inherent to sensor networks including sensor localization, clustering, and data aggregation among others.