Meet the Honey Bees and Learn What They Do

Queen Bees

Truly hive royalty! Queens are selected when they're still eggs. The egg is fed lots of royal jelly, a nutrient-rich gelatinous substance. Queen bees even get specially built cells in the hive to fit their larger size. There's just one queen per hive, and she can lay up to 2,000 fertilized eggs in a single day! Queen bees can live up to 5 years.

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, and they're busy from the get-go!


These are the only male honey bees. There aren’t many of them, and they have just one job: to mate with a new queens (in a different hive) so she can lay fertilized eggs, which then develop into baby bees. Drones live about 12 weeks.

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.

Watch a Spring Hive Inspection with The Bee Cause Project

Spend a beautiful day inspecting a hive with a beekeeper, Tom Knaust! Go frame by frame through a thriving honey bee colony, pointing out ways to assess the health of the hive. Get up close with the queen bee, a few drones, thousands of female workers bees, meet newly hatched baby bees and more!