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Saturday, May 03, 2014

How Long do Bees Live and what kinds of jobs do they have?

How Long do Bees Live and what kinds of jobs do they have?

This question comes up a lot while I am at the market.  Bees have much more work to do in the spring and summer.  The flying alone wears them and their wings out.  In the winter their primary job is to keep the queen warm and fed and the hive alive.  They live on what the summer and spring bees have stored.  I found the following explanation on Wikipidia and thought it was explained perfectly.  So I did what I do best.  I copied and pasted it here for you!  


Female worker bees                                                          

Almost all the bees in a hive are female worker bees. At the height of summer when activity in the hive is frantic and work goes on non-stop, the life of a worker bee may be as short as 6 weeks; in late autumn, when no brood is being raised and no nectar is being harvested, a young bee may live for 16 weeks, right through the winter. During its life a worker bee performs different work functions in the hive, largely dictated by the age of the bee.
PeriodWork activity
Days 1-3Cleaning cells and incubation
Day 3-6Feeding older larvae
Day 6-10Feeding younger larvae
Day 8-16Receiving nectar and pollen from field bees
Day 12-18Beeswax making and cell building
Day 14 onwardsEntrance guards; nectar, pollen, water and
propolis foraging; robbing other hives

Male bees (drones)

Drones are the largest bees in the hive (except for the queen), at almost twice the size of a worker bee. They do not work, do not forage for pollen or nectar and have no other known function than to mate with new queens and fertilize them on their mating flights. A bee colony generally starts to raise drones a few weeks before building queen cells so they can supersede a failing queen or prepare for swarming. When queen-raising for the season is over, bees in colder climates drive drones out of the hive to die, biting and tearing their legs and wings.

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