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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Functions of the Worker Bees

There are three castes of bees in a hive: Queen, Drones, and Workers.  In short, the Queen's purpose is to lay eggs, the Drones' purpose is to mate with a virgin queen, and the Female Workers do everything else.

Nearly all the bees in a hive are female workers, and there can be up to 40,000 in a single hive at peak production. During this peak time of production, when flowers and blooming and the nectar is flowing, the life span of a worker bee is about 6 weeks long; however, when the honey flow is over and egg/brood production stops, a worker bee can live upwards of 4 months through the winter months.

An amazing part of worker bees is how their role changes depending upon their age.  Below are there various functions as they mature (source:

Days 1-3 -- Cleaning cells and incubation

Day 3-6 -- Feeding older larvae

Day 6-10 -- Feeding younger larvae

Day 8-16 -- Receiving honey and pollen from field bees

Day 12-18 -- Wax making and cell building

Day 14-Death -- Entrance guards; nectar and pollen foraging

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