There are 3 primary types of bees in any hive. And it’s very important to know what they are before you start your first hive.
So let’s go through them one by one.
All bees are hatched by eggs laid by the queen bee in the honey comb. But depending on how they’re laid, they’ll end up being different types of bees.
Here’s a quick clip from my Basic Beekeeping DVD and there’s more detail below.[iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/12337537″ width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″]
You can grab my DVD here, or read below for more detail on the different types of bees.
First: The Worker Bee
These start out as little tiny specs in a cell, kind of like a very tiny piece of rice. This little “rice like thing” is an egg, and it stands up almost immediately after being laid.
The egg hatches within 3 days, and when it hatches it does not become a bee quite yet.
First it will turn into a larva. And that phase lasts from about days 4-9. During that time the larvae will feed on royal jelly and worker jelly.
Around day 9, a cap will be put over the cell that the larvae is in. During days 10-20 the larvae will spin a cocoon in the cell and start turning into a full fledged worker bee. On day 21 the worker bee will emerge from it’s cell.
Once the bee is hatched it will spend the first couple days keeping the developing bees warm in their cells.
Then through about days 3-5 after the worker bee emerges from its’ cell it will help feed the older larvae. From about 6-11, they help feed the older larvae.
From about days 12-17 they help produce wax, build comb, and also transport food. And then on days 18-21 they help guard the entrance to the hive and help to make sure no unwanted intruders come in.
After that, they fly out and help gather pollen, nectar, water, etc for the hive.
Second: The Drone Bee
Drones strangely enough come from unfertilized eggs. They follow an almost identical process to hatching as a worker bee, but they take about 3 days longer.
Pretty much all the drone does is wait to mate with a virgin queen. Honestly, drones don’t do much more than that.
Third: The Queen Bee
Queen bees are the most important bees to a hive. Without them a hive will generally die in a month. Because of that, queen cells hatch in only 16 days. But there can only be one queen in any hive. If there are two queens in a hive they will literally battle to the death.
If a hive is suddenly without a queen for any reason, incredibly enough, worker bees can populate a queen cell and feed it a great deal of royal jelly. If this is performed correctly, a new queen can hatch and save the hive.
And that’s pretty much it! If you’d like to know more about starting your first hive, click here to check out my Basic Beekeeping DVD.