Honey bees need a good residence to flourish and they never bear any offensive conduct. If you are new to the...
Different Life Cycles of a Bee
A beekeeper must have knowledge about a honey bee’s life cycle. There are four stages in the life of a honey bee.
As we know, a colony has three types of honey bees – queen, drone and worker. While the stages in all the three types of bees are same, there is a difference in their development time. We will learn a little more about what happens to the honey bees in these different stages.
Once the queen bee lays eggs, it marks the beginning of metamorphosis of the eggs. The eggs are very tiny but not invisible to the eyes. A beekeeper should know how to spot eggs. They are white and very tiny, just about 1.7 mm. The queen bee lays two types of eggs:
The fertilized eggs will hatch to become female workers. The bees select the queen from amongst these female bees. This entirely depends on the type and quantity of nutrition they are provided at their larvae stage. The non-fertilized eggs develop into drones or male bees.
The eggs hatch 3 days after the queen has laid the eggs. The larvae are very tiny and shed their skin 5 times. They consume a lot of food and eat up to 1,300 times in a single day. The ‘brood nurses’ feed them royal jelly and then bee bread – which is a mixture of pollen, honey and secretions from the nurse bees. They develop quickly and are 1,570 bigger than their original size in 5 days. The worker bees then seal these big sized larvae in a cell for further development. They cap the cell with beeswax after which every larva spins a cocoon around its body. The worker and queen bees are capped on the 6th day after they are hatched, but the drone bees are capped 2 days later i.e. on the 8th day after they have been hatched.
The cocooned larvae are now pupae. It is at this stage that their formation takes place. They begin to get their eyes, wings, legs, body, and finally their body is covered with tiny hair. Their development times are different for workers, queens and drones.
· Queen bees come out as fully formed queens on the 7th day after their capping. Their total development cycle is 16 days.
· Worker bees come out as fully formed working bees on the 12th day after capping. Their total development cycle is 21 days.
· Drone bees come out as fully formed drone bees on the 13th days after their capping. Their total development cycle is 24 days.
Every bee that comes out as an adult bee resumes its duties. A drone bee can live up to 4 months, but as soon as it has mated with the queen bee, it will die. Worker bees that have been raised during the autumn will live upto 6 months because they have an important role to play in the winters. Those that have been raised in the summer or spring have a life span of just 6 to 7 weeks. Queen bees can survive up to 4 years but to get the position of a queen is an entirely different topic to discuss about.
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