The honey bee

The Drone Bee

Drones are always male bees. They have one purpose in the hive, to mate with the queen to help her produce offspring. The queen will kill all drones she mates with by removing the drones’ sexual organs in order to store their sperm within her body. Drones that are not favored by the queen for mating don’t get an easy ride.

Drone bees pop up in spring and summer. They are larger then the worker bees and smaller then the queen. Drones are male. Drones do not collect food. Their sole purpose is to breed with the queen. Only 6-8 drones actually breed with the queen. They life a bit longer than the worker bee, around 2 months. When fall is coming the worker bees chase them out of the hive. Drones can not kill or hurt anything, they are just used for their seed.

Drone cells are much darker then the others
Drone upclose

The Worker Bee

Worker bees are all female, but they do not have the same abilities as the queen. They are born sterile and their purpose is to work for their entire lifespan. Worker bees are essentially the lifeblood of the hive. Without worker bees, there would be no one to care for the ever-important queen, produce honey or pollinate plants and flowers. Worker bees are also afforded the privilege of ejecting the unusable drones from the hive.

Worker bees have many jobs throughout their life. The jobs for the worker bee change through their life-span. There are jobs like cell cleaning and capping that are generally handled by younger bees. Guarding and foraging is for the older bees. Worker bees live for about 5 weeks then die – they quite literally work themselves to death to help the survival of the hive.

Bees are neat freaks and because it is the workers bee’s job to clean the hive they will remove themselves from the hive before they die so the other bees can get on with their job.

A worker bee upclose

The Queen Bee

Each beehive have a queen bee to keep the hive stocked with new bees. Her only job is to lay eggs. The other bees do everything else regarding the maintenance of the hive, the production of honey and the care of the queen. The queen needs drones to mate with. The worker bees bring her food and clean up after her.

The queen bee is the largest of all the bees in a hive. In her prime she can lay around 1500-2000 eggs a day. There are some days though she won’t lay any eggs.

The queen bee is able to control the sex of the eggs she lays. The queen lays a fertilized (female) or unfertilized (male) egg according to the width of the cell. Drones are raised in cells that are significantly larger than the cells used for workers. The queen fertilizes the egg by selectively releasing sperm from her spermatheca as the egg passes through her oviduct.

You see that the queen bee is larger than the other bees

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