The lifespan of a Bee: Life Cycle of Honey Bee Diagram.
The life cycle of Honey Bee: The history of the honey bee is very ancient. From the cave painting, it has been learned that the habit of honey collection and beekeeping has been going on since the stone age. The honey bee is originated in Europe.
The North American brought about honey bees from there. Honey bees are not as aggressive as men think. There are several species of bees other than honey bees, such as carpenter bee, Yellowjacket bee, Wasp, etc are ferocious.
They do not attack or sting unless they are attacked by an invader. They try first to save their hive and themselves. When they fail, they make a counter-attack. The honey bee has a great history of high socialism. They are more organized than any other insects. They have particular rules for every group. The duties and responsibilities also differ from queen bee to worker bees.
Queen bee can live a few years. The worker or female bees’ life span is very short. They can live only 6 weeks during the busy summer. In winter they live 4-9 months. Male bees or drones may live a few weeks to 3/4 months. But drones who mate with the queen die as the drone’s reproductive organs/genitalia are torn away from their body.
When is honeybee busier?
During summer honey bee is very busy to collect honey from flowers to flowers. They also make and repair their hives during this time. They collect their food at this time. During winter they are very idle. The foods that they store in a hive during summer, they eat them during winter. They can live long in winter.
These eggs hatch into worker-bee-larvae in 3 days, are fed Bee bread for 3 days, and then diet includes pollen and honey for 3 days. They are sealed into their cells for 12 days. During this period they turn shelter and converted to pupae from larvae. They rise as adult bees in 21 days after the eggs were laid.
|Types of Bees||Egg||Larva||Pupa||Total days before adult||Total Lifespan|
|Queen (female)||3.0||5.5||7.0||15.5||5 Years|
|Workers (female)||3.0||6.0||12.0||21.0||Variable: 70 Days in summer to 180 days in fall/winter|
|Drone (male)||3.0||6.5||14.5||24.0||45 Days|
There are 3 types of honeybees such as- the queen bee, worker or female bee, and male bee or drone.
Workers’ bees are female. They are not sexually developed for generation production. They live 4-9 months in winter, and only 6 weeks in summer. All bees in a hive are worker bees. In winter there are 20000-30000 worker bees in a hive and 60000-80000 in summer.
They have specific chores for an individual. It takes just 21 days from egg to emergence. Each worker bee has only one barbed stinger. It is the reason for their death after stinging. So, they can sting just one time a life.
Just a queen bee is in a hive. She is sexually developed for generation production. Queen bees live for 3-5 years. She does sex only one time with several male bees. She takes care of 2000 eggs per day. The worker bees are born from fertilized eggs and male or drone bees are born from unfertilized eggs.
When the queen bee dies or is unable to produce bees, the other bees select a young larva as queen. Then they feed it a special diet known as royal jelly. Then it takes only 16 days to take place a queen bee.
Male bees are also known as drone bees. They are held in the hive during summer for doing sex with the virgin queen bee. After doing sex, the drone dies. There are 300-3000 drones in a hive. They have no stinger. They are useless in winter. So they are expelled from the hive.
Life Cycle of a Bee
Work schedule of worker honey bees based on their ages
01. Generally, bees under 3 days old are responsible to clean and polish the cells for the queen to lay eggs and for the storage of food.
02. 3 to 7 days old bees feed the older larvae.
03. 14 to 21 days old bees search for pollen, and
04. 21 days and above old bees search for nectar. So, all the bees of the colony are responsible for more or less and contribute to the whole process of converting or reforming nectar into honey.
They are also responsible for air conditioning of the colony to maintain appropriate and ideal temperature and humidity. This act is performed by moving their wings and change the direction of moving as needed. Because, sometimes they want to throw out hot air (in summer) from the colony, and sometimes they enter hot air from outside (in winter).
05. Other labor activities are: gathering water and propolis and defending the colony. Propolis is one kind of gum used to make any bondage or cover any hole.7 to 14 days old bees secrete royal jelly to feed the queen, younger worker larvae, and queen larvae of any age. They also squirt wax for building comb.
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Sources of information:
01. Bee Journal,
02. Experience of own Beekeeping project,
03. Beekeepers’ Association.