A healthy and happy beehive is truly a thing of wonderment and beauty! The typical 60,000+ member beehive’s demonstration of self-preservation, teamwork and production is amazing to see.
To see how a hive cleans and cares for itself is awe inspiring! As you watch little fuzzy worker bees emerge from their cells and assume their new roles is fascinating. Being able to observe the cleansing flights and foraging is miraculous, that these little insects instinctively know from birth what their role is within the hive.
These bees each have separate and important roles which they spend their life tirelessly working.
Let there be no mistake, there can only be one queen in the hive, and if there are more queens present, the queens will fight to the death, leaving only one surviving.
Most people will never get the chance to hear the songs of a queen, but if you ever get the chance to hear multiple queens in one area, they will chirp and sing.
Workers will create reserve queen cells that resemble a peanut in preparation for the queen dying. Hives will also produce multiple queen cells if they are getting ready to swarm or they are queenless. Without a good queen, your hive may suffer.
There is a lot of pressure on your queen to not lay spotty brood and to be strong; your queen will set the mood for your hive.
Of all bees in the hive, the queen has the longest life expectancy of 2-5 years; she will mate with multiple drones during her mating flight, but may never have the need to mate again.
Physically, the queen appears different from her workers, and will usually be longer. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to see her when you first begin, as her attendants will do their very best to prevent you from finding her as a way of protecting their very existence.
Being the only males in the hive, their only role is to procreate with the queen. Drones will spend their days waiting to mate with a queen and hanging out with other drones. Once this happens, they will die.
Worker bees can lay drone eggs since the drone egg is an unfertilized egg. Drone eggs look very different from regular worker bees; their cells are small and round vs being in the honeycomb.
Drones are distinctive in their appearance; their body is larger than a worker bee with big eyes and an inability to sting.
In colder climates drones will be the first indication that winter is in the air. Right before winter, the [female[ worker bees will kill off the drones and will push them out of the hive. The hive will not need a queen mated in winter months and cannot afford to have drones consuming honey.
Bees are very clean. After a long, cold spell, if you look carefully in front of your hive, you will notice dead [mostly drone] bees. This is because as soon as it’s warm enough, worker bees will carry all the dead bees from inside the hive and take them outside.
Worker bees are exceptional at protecting the hive from intruders and will use propolise to seal off the hive. They also help to cool the hive as summer temperatures rise. Other bees will bring water to the hive.
The worker bees produce honey, build and seal off the honeycomb with wax, and pack pollen pack.
The last job that a worker bee will have, and they will continue to do until the end of their life, is to forage. They will spend their days looking for nectar, pollen and propolis. They will literally work themselves to death.