Meet the Honeybees and Learn What They Do

Queen Bees

Truly hive royalty! Queens are selected at a young age and fed lots of nutrient-rich royal jelly. They’re the only bees in the colony that are able to lay fertilized eggs — up to 2,000 eggs in a single day! They can live up to five years, much longer than worker bees.

Worker Bees

Most of the bees in a hive are worker bees, and they are ALL female. They do lots of important jobs to keep the hive running smoothly, from guarding the hive to finding nectar-rich flower patches to making honey. Worker bees usually live to be about six weeks old.

Drones

These are the only male honey bees. There aren’t many of them, and they have just one job: to mate with new queens to make baby bees. Sometimes called the “couch potatoes” of the hive, drones live about 12 weeks.

Worker Bees Have Lots of Jobs

They work together to keep the hive healthy and make sure everything works smoothly.

Spot the Queen

There’s only one queen per hive, and whenever she moves, her attendants move with her. When it’s time for a new queen, the workers choose a larvae that is just a few days old. They feed that larvae extra royal jelly which allows her reproductive organs to develop. That makes her larger than worker bees.

Queen honeybees don’t wear crowns, so how can you tell which one she is? Here are a few ways to spot the queen in a colony.

  1. Look for a long, pointed abdomen
  2. Look for a bee with a shiny black spot
  3. Look for the largest bee

Can you spot the queen?

Click here to see if you found the queen.

Take a Dive Inside the Hive

Beekeeper Tools 101 Video

Bee-hind the Scenes with a Beekeeper and the Tools of the Trade

Curious about what bees do in winter?

Learn from Scientific American about how bees warm up during the cold winter months.