Bees begin their life in an egg – 3 days, then as a grub for a week in an unsealed cell, where it is fed pollen and royal jelly, by nurse bees. How much it is fed determines whether it will be Queen or worker! Then the cell is sealed over and waits until the bee hatches – 21 days for a worker, 24 days for drones, and Queens only 14 days. Royal Jelly is produced by the bees – it’s baby bee food.
Baby bees first become nurse bees before they are gatherers. Their job is to feed and look after younger bees for about two weeks, then they become field bees – gatherers.
Bees never sleep, in summer when gathering honey, they virtually work them selves to death – they live approximately 6 weeks, but, in winter with not as much to do they live approximately 6 months.
Queen bees live between 2 – 3 years. They are really only egg laying machines. Worker bees feed and clean her. She can lay male or female eggs at will. (pretty clever stuff). As I said before, the only difference between a worker bee and a Queen bee, is the amount of feed in infancy. A worker is an under developed female. She can lay eggs if things get tough – only drones (male bees) though.
Drone bees are male. They do no work, just bludge, so when feed is in short supply, the drones get thrown out of the hive and die. They usually live about 6 months, before getting killed.
Hives will produce queens, only when their queen has become to old or when they have decided to swarm – split from the hive and make a new one.