We all have a general idea of the work bees do. We know they are important in pollination and, of course, producing honey. But how many of us actually know what goes on inside the hive or how honey is made? In an effort to understand the importance and benefits to our friendly honey bees, let’s take a look inside.
The community in a beehive is surprisingly complex. There are three types of bees that reside in the hive, and each one has a different job to do. Age is even a factor in terms of the work a bee does. As a bee ages, the jobs it completes vary as each day passes until they leave the hive. In the first three weeks of a bee’s life, it will feed larvae one day and may build comb the next. The tasks a bee completes depends on its role in the hive. Here are the main types of bees and what each does:
- Queen Bee – The main role of the queen bee is to lay eggs. During laying season, a queen may produce up to a thousand eggs a day. Queens only need to mate once, as they can retain the sperm from male bees for 3 to 5 years.
- Worker Bee – As sterile females, the worker bees support the queen. They feed the queen and even remove its waste.
- Drone – The sole purpose of the male drone is to mate with the queen. Unfortunately, drones die after mating, as the queen retains the male’s sexual organs for future use.
As mentioned, bees have a variety of tasks to complete, which change as the bees ages. From birth, a bee begins to work. The first job a bee takes on is cleaning out the cell it was born in. Next, the bee feeds older larvae, then the younger. In the last days before leaving the hive, bees will produce wax, carry food, and protect the hive’s entrance. Finally, after three weeks, the bees begins leaving the hive to pollinate and collect.
How They’re Born
Of course, before any of the work listed above can take place, the different types of bees must be born. Different cells within the hive are used to produce specific bees. For instance, the smallest cells are where the worker bees are born. The queen will lay fertilized eggs in these cells. Secondly, there are the cells for drone bees, in which the queen lays unfertilised eggs. Last and certainly not least, are the cells for queen bees. Generally, a hive will contain twenty hanging cells for queens. Fertilized eggs are also laid in these cells, as it produces females.
There you have it: the inside of the hive. There is much more that goes on inside the hive to produce our beloved honey, but we’ll leave that to the bees! To get a taste of just what a bee does inside the hive, check out our store and get your hands on a jar of raw honey.