A honeybee completes four stages to become an adult from the egg. This complete process is also known as the metamorphosis of the honeybee. Most of the educational syllabus also includes the life cycle of honeybees in their curriculum.

Bees are tiny social insects that play a vital role in the ecosystem of nature and food production. As a student, beekeeper, and researcher, one must know the process that unfolds the life cycle of the honey bee. Honey Bee is one of the most important insects for the ecosystem, providing golden nectar and also helping in the pollination of fruits and flowers.

Also, ReadClassification of Animals

Bees usually live in a hive. There are three types of bees in a hive. They are the Queen Bee, Worker Bees, and Drone Bees. Every bee has its own responsibilities in the hive and they do live and are called social insects too.

Honey Bee Lifespan

The study of lifespan is equally important while learning about the life cycle of honey bees. Honey Bee’s lifespan depends upon varying factors. It mainly depends upon the roles of the bees in the colony. So, the lifespan of honey bees ranges from a few weeks to 2 -3 years and some even more.

Worker Bees live up to 6-7 weeks in the spring or summer season, while they can live up to 4-6 months in autumn.

Queen Bees live up to 2-4 years in case it is free from any kinds of diseases. In rare cases, queen bees have been found to live up to 6 years too.

Drone Bees have an average lifespan of 50-55 days. They die after mating with the queen bee or are either expelled from the hive at the end of an active season, leaving them to end their lifespan.

Stages in the Life Cycle of Honey Bee

There are four stages in the life cycle of the honey bee.

life cycle of honey bee -stages in life cycle of honey bee-nepaleseteacher
Life Cycle of honey bee

1. Egg Stage

The egg stage is the first stage in the lifecycle of the honey bee. The queen bee is the only bee in the colony that can lay eggs. A queen bee lays 2000 to 3000 eggs per day, in each cell of the hive. Queen bees lay both fertilized as well as unfertilized eggs. The fertilized eggs turn out to be queen bees on hatching and the unfertilized egg turns out to be drone bees.

The eggs are small, usually 1.2-1.6 mm in length. They are pearly white in oval shape and are quite difficult to spot with the naked eye. Each egg is laid attached to the wall of the hexagonal cell, with upright placement ensuring the proper balance of the worker bees, drone bees, and queen bees. This is carried carefully by the queen bee.

2. Larval Stage

The larval stage is the stage where the worker bees and the queen bees are determined. The egg transforms into a larva after three days. All the larvae are fed with royal jelly at the beginning, but after some days, only a female bee is fed with the royal jelly, which turns out to become a queen bee. Bees shade their skin multiple times during their larval stage.

The larval stage is also considered as the critical stage in the lifecycle of the honey bee. In this stage, eggs transform into larvae and also proceed to become pups. Initially, larvae are small and white with C-shaped bodies, and later on, they elongate. The health of the bees is determined by the nutrients fed in the larval stage.

For worker bees, larval stages can be 5-6 days and for drone bees, larval stages can be 6-7 days.

3. Pupa Stage

This stage is also known as the transformation phase in the life cycle of the honey bee. In this honey bee transforms from the larval stage to the adult stage.

In this stage, they get restructured internally by covering themselves with a white silk-like substance called a cocoon. During the pupal stage, the honey bee undergoes metamorphosis, a process of profound internal and external changes. Internally, the larval tissues break down, and adult tissues, organs, and body parts form and develop. Externally, the body of the honey bee takes on its characteristic features, such as legs, wings, and antennae.

The process, that undergoes during the transformation of the larva to the adult is also called the metamorphosis of the honey bee.

The duration of the pupal stage varies depending on the caste of the bee. Worker bees typically spend around 12 to 14 days as pupae, while drones undergo a slightly longer pupal stage, lasting approximately 14 to 16 days. Queen bees have the longest pupal stage, which can range from 15 to 16 days.

After the end of the pupa/pupal stage, the adult bee comes out of the cocoon by tearing it.

4. Adult Stage

The adult stage is the last stage in the lifecycle of the honey bee. In this stage, the honey bee develops a fully developed body structure and also develops wings and is distinguished as a queen bee, drone bee, and worker bee and gets their responsibilities in the colony.

After the queen bee, is ready to lay the eggs, the lifecycle of the honey bee again starts to begin. In this way, the life cycle of honey bees is completed in four stages, with lots of change.

Fun Facts about Honey Bee

Here are some of the fun facts about honey bees you might want to know.

  • Bees are vital pollinators, responsible for one-third of global food crop production.
  • Bees’ wings beat at 200 times per second, allowing agile flight.
  • About 20,000 bee species exist globally, from tiny sweat bees to large bumblebees.
  • Bees have been used in apitherapy for millennia, employing honey, pollen, propolis, and venom for health benefits.
  • Bees can recognize human faces, showcasing their impressive memory and cognitive skills.
  • Honey bees are the only insects that produce honey, converting nectar through regurgitation and evaporation.

In conclusion, bees continue to amaze us with their intricate behaviors, essential role as pollinators, and remarkable adaptations. From their intricate waggle dances to their impressive flight capabilities and cognitive abilities, bees are truly fascinating creatures. Their contributions to our ecosystems and food production cannot be overstated. As we appreciate and protect these buzzing wonders, we ensure a sustainable future for both bees and ourselves. We can work together to save bees.

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