Nurse, Worker, Honey-maker, Defender, Builder and Wax -creator.
The amazing Honey Bee treated with respect and even fear but look into that short and busy life and be amazed at how this little creature develops. Each stage or time is defined by a changing function starting with the more obvious, egg.
As most of us are aware, the queen lays eggs day in and day out but how many can she lay? Would you be surprised that she is able to lay around 2000 in a single day? She lives for anything from 2 to 7 years but limits egg production in line with the available cells.
Our Queen Honey Bee lays an egg in a cell built by the workers according to the hive requirements. If it is a fertilized egg, the egg becomes a female worker but in the event that its an unfertilized egg it becomes a male or Drone.
The egg develops over a period of 3 days and hatches into a larva.
The workers feed the larva Royal Jelly and then switch to Honey and Pollen with the exception being the creation of a new queen which will continue receiving Royal jelly.
After 5 days of almost constant eating, the workers cap the cell.
The Pupa, which the larva is now called, develops into a recognizable bee and takes between 7 to 14 days with the time varying according to their function in the hive, with Drones taking the longest.
From the egg to the Worker takes in total about 21 days to develop and then has new roles to perform as she ages.
Our new worker will spend her first 3 days cleaning and perform this role from time to time until she is 14 days old.
From day 3 until day 11 she will perform nursing and feeding operations for the larvae.
From day 11 to day 17 she will transfer nectar and perform fanning operations to cool the hive.
In addition to this, from day 11 until day 34 she will have developed wax glands and will create wax for building the hive. The ratio of honey consumed to create the wax is in the region of 7 parts honey to produce 1 part wax.
From day 17 to day 20 would also involve guarding the hive entrance.
The last role from 21 days old and until 42 days old she would forage for nectar and pollen. Somewhere during this short and intensively busy little life she would die and somewhere in the dark hive of moving bodies the queen would lay a replacement egg and so the cycle continues.