Did you know there are three types of bees in the beehive? They are the queen, worker and drone bees.
The queen is fascinating! As a growing larvae she is feed exclusively royal jelly
. Royal jelly, with it's special proteins, is responsible for giving the queen bee a long, long life plus an elegant and large body, which make her very fertile.
As a new queen her first job will be to fight and kill any other queens in the hive. There could be an old, weak queen or one or two new queens hatched around the same time. The worker bees create queen cells when the pheromone of their existing queen is getting low, therefore at the end of her life.
The young queen will then take her virgin flight, mating with an average of 7-17 drone bees in mid air, she may take about 1-3 flights. She will have enough sperm (about 5-6 million) stored in her sperm pouch to fertilise all the eggs she will spend the rest of her life laying. She will not leave the hive again, unless she swarms, and will lay about 1500 eggs per day over her four to five year life.
The queen will determine how many worker and drone bees the hive needs. She will lay unfertilised eggs for drone bees and fertilised eggs for worker and queen bees.
The Worker Bees
The worker bees are all females and they are called worker bees for a reason, they are hardest worker creature I can think of! The worker bees carry out all the jobs in a hive, except laying eggs. The job they are allocated will depend on their age. There are so many jobs to be done including carrying away waste, cleaning out cells and preparing them for new eggs, feeding larvae, tending to and feeding the queen, building wax, guarding the entrance of the hive, collecting pollen and nectar, fanning honey to dry it, capping honey cells, etc.
Worker bees generally live for 15-38 days in the summer, 30-60 days in the spring and longer in the winter. There main job in the winter is to keep the queen alive and warm but clustering around her. The colder the temperature the more compact the cluster becomes. The worker bees create heat by shivering and they also move back and forth between the inner part of the cluster and the outer part. In this way no bee will freeze in very cold climates.
The Drone Bees
Drones are the only male bees in the hive, their role is to mate with the queen. They seem to have no duties in the hive and do not forage. They do not have pollen baskets, wax glands or stingers, so therefore can not sting.
Once sexually mature, around 12 days old, they fly out of the hive looking for queen bees and will either mate with their queen or another queen from another hive. Once mating is complete the drone will, as the penis is torn from his body after he falls away from the queen. Any drones that do not mate live for a few weeks but if conditions get tough and food storage starts to dwindle the drones are kicked out of the hive, as they have no purpose once the queen has been mated and are just taking up space and resources.
Types of bees from www.britannica.com