All bees start out as eggs. Even the queen! Each egg is around 1.7 millimetres long, occupying a single cell that the workers had previously cleaned. The Queen is picky, for if there is one spec of dirt in the cell, she will move on. The size of the cell she chooses determines the development of the bee, for example, wider cells create drone bees (coming from an unfertilized egg), while the smaller cells create worker bees (emerging from a fertilised eggs).
For all bees, they hatch into larvae after 3 days. The nurse bees take care of all these larvae, which have specific appetites. Only the first larva is given a substance called “royal jelly”, a specific mixture of ingredients around the hive, which creates the queen! If there are multiple queens in the hive after they are hatched, they will fight until there is only one.
After they are fed and grow spontaneously, the worker bees will seal all cells containing larvae with a wax, so that the new bees are able to spin a cocoon around themselves. After this, the bees are “pupae”, and noticeable transformations start to occur. Everything takes place, and after a specific amount of days, the adult bee will chew their way through the wax coating to start living a life around the hive! For a queen bee, it takes her 16 days to emerge, while workers take 21, and drones take 24.
How long do they live for, though? Well, it ultimately depends on the season they are born in. The queen lives for 3-4 years no matter what. The worker bees, on the other hand, live for 36 days in the summer, or 6 months in the winter (for they are able to feed on the past collections of other bees). The drone bee also survives for longer during the winter, 59 days opposed to 22 in the summer, for they are shut out of the hive if food supplies are low in the summer. The workers will literally guard the hive so that the drones can no longer enter before the winter season. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
There you have it, the life cycle of a honeybee! These creatures are truly so intelligent, so let’s help them out. Save the bees.