The honeybee is a social bee, meaning that it lives in an organized structure, working and living in constant cooperation with others. Today, we continue to learn about stages of the bees.
In contrast, the solitary bee has no social structure and will live and hunt alone.
It should be noted that it is precisely this social colony structure that allows the honeybee to survive for years, as it has the ability to huddle and eat its honey to survive the winter. However, it would be inaccurate to assume that it is only the honeybee that produces honey.
Solitary bees and the bumblebee are good examples of non-honeybee honey producers. Yet, although these bees will both produce and store honey, they do not produce anywhere near the quantity that honeybees do, making them unfit to use for honey harvesting.
The size of the typical honeybee colony can average 60,000 residents. This will break down into about half of the bees tending to the young and assisting the queen, while the rest go out and forage for nectar and pollen, both being food for the bees (though the bees will also need water).
Along with the queen, you also have the worker and drone. All workers are female and work the hive in various roles. All drones are male and are only breeders. These roles will be covered here!
Stages of the Bee
As do other insects, the honeybee goes through developmental, or life, stages. These stages are:
• Metamorphosis into Adult Bee
Much like the butterfly, the honeybee will go through each one of these stages, eventually becoming the functioning worker, drone, or, in some cases, new queen. The fertilized egg of the honeybee is laid within the wax chambers, or cell, of a honeycomb.
The honeycomb that is used for laying eggs is called the brooder comb. Looking like little grains of rice, each egg stands on and within its own small cell. Within only three days of being laid, the eggs will hatch, beginning the next stage of development, which is the larval. The larva looks like a little white worm. At this stage, the larva does not have legs or eyes.
For the first few days, the larva will live on a diet of royal jelly, a substance rich in protein, vitamins, fats, and minerals. Starting at day three, the larvae’s diet will be altered, according to the roles that it will play in the hive or colony. Those destined to be workers and drones will be switched to a honey, pollen, and water diet. Those that have the potential to become queens will continue on an exclusive diet of royal jelly.
The larva will have five moltings during this period. Be they worker, drone, or queen, the care given to the larva by the workers is nonstop, providing it with at least ten thousand meals.
After a period of time (five and a half days for queen larvae, six days for worker larvae, and six and a half days for drone larvae), they will move on to the next stage: the pupal stage. At the pupal stage, the larva goes through a complete body overhaul, totally changing its structure.
As tissues reorganize, the body will change into the more familiar form of the bee. Normally this takes seven and a half days for a queen, fourteen and a half days for a drone, and twelve days for a worker.
The final stage is the metamorphosis into the adult bee, thus completing the cycle within a 21-day time period. And by that, we now know all 4 stages of the bees!
- Further your understanding by reading more about the bee races
- Equip yourself with some basic beekeeping terms
- Learn about the anatomy of the bees HERE
Looking forward to our next articles of BEEKEEPING at https://farmvina.com/category/beekeeping/!