A bee colony

At its largest a colony of honey bees can be around 70,000, dropping to just 10,000 in winter.  In the summer a bee will only live for a few weeks as they get worked to the bone at the end of their lives as they take on the foraging duties.  The bees born in September will be the ones to keep the Queen and the colony alive until the following spring when the Queen starts to lay eggs again and the spring bulbs come up.

As a bee grows up it's duties change, though they start when it's just a few hours old cleaning cells and the hive in general.  Bees are very hygienic creatures and will take any dead bees or larvae out of the hive.  From 3 days old they may be feeding the brood and attending to the Queen.  From 6 days old they could be on honey processing, moving to wax production and comb building from 12 days old. . Jobs like hive ventilation, guard duty and  foraging for nectar, pollen, water and propolis are left to the older workers and keep them busy until they die. No time to get bored!

Emily AbbottComment