The Honey Bee Life Cycle
Being a beekeeper, even as a hobby or a large commercial producer, you can not be successful if you don't understand the honey bee life cycle.
Honey bees live in a unique way.
It all starts with the egg. The hives queen bee lays an egg in one of the cells constructed for the soul purpose of laying eggs. Once queen has laid the egg and moved on to lay another (during the spring months the queen can lay an average of 1900 eggs daily) the egg is attached to the cell with a mucus strand.
A larvae emerges when the egg hatches. Nurse bees are in charge of caring for the young larvae. They feed the eggs bee bread. The bee bread is mixture of honey plus gland secretions. The larvae will go through five distinct growth stages. After each of these stages the larvae sheds its outer skin. When the larvae is six days old, the larvae is then capped by a worker bee, cocooning the larvae in its cell. The larvae remains in the cocoon for less then 10 days when it emerges from the cocoon it is a fully formed young bee.
The average length of life average honey bee depends on what purpose the bee fulfills in the hive. A queen bee can live for two years providing that she was able to get herself inseminated with enough sperm during her nuptial flight. A good strong queen bee can lay as many as 2000 eggs a day. She is in charge of killing her sisters and mothers. The queen bee doesn't have to worry about taking care of herself, she is always surrounded by an entourage of worker bees who feed her and remove her waste.
It is not uncommon for the elderly queen bee to leave the nest in the springtime when the rest of the hive is getting ready to swarm. Experts believe that the queen produces some sort of pheromone that prevents the hives workers bees from becoming interested in sex. A queen bee who has not made her nuptial flight is called a virgin queen. Drone bees are male bees that live only to impregnate queen bees during the queens nuptial flight.
The drone dies immediately after mating with the queen bee. In the winter time, worker bees are able to live up to a 100 and forty days old. During the summer months the worker bee is lucky to live for forty days, the short summer life span is because the worker bees are literally worked to death. The worker bee's duties are wide and varied. Worker bees called nurse bees are in charge of caring for the young larvae, other workers are sent out to gather pollen to be made into honey.
The other workers cap off the combs, the queen bee is taken care by the rest of the workers. Worker bees are in charge of starving the unwanted drone bees plus to clean the hive. There can be any were from twenty thousand to two hundred thousand worker bees in a single hive. Worker bees are always sterile. If a worker bee lays an egg the bee then becomes a drone bee. Workers bees are the bees that people see defending the hive.
For the hive to survive depends on the hive having a healthy queen that is laying eggs. The queen bee dies when something happens. So it is very important that you know what you are doing when raising honey bees......
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