Like every other insect, bees also undergo with a metamorphosis process. There are four stages of Honey bees’ life: Egg, Larva, pupa, and Adult. All of these life stages keep happening throughout the year. A queen bee lays fertilized and unfertilized eggs and put single egg into each cell of a honeycomb.
The egg hatches after 3 days into a larva fed by the bees who take care of the inside of the colony. The larvae are fed with brood food – bee bread (royal jelly to potential queen bee) – 150-800 times a day which declines after three days. After feeding larva for about a week, bees seal them back in their cells. Then the second stage begins and larva develops into pupal. The process is so fast that within a week a full-grown adult bee comes out from the cell itself. Bees draw a specific area of the comb for young bees which is also called as brood. The rest of the comb is used for filling pollen and honey storage.
Worker bees maintain the larvae section of the hive. They clean and maintain the hive and feed the larvae on their first ten days of their lives. Right after this, they start the building process, they build more comb cells. The new worker bees collect pollen and nectar from the older workers and stock it inside the comb cells. After passing of 20 days, they leave the hive and become the forager for rest of their lives. They also help in secreting beeswax used for sealing the combs and guard it from the intruders. In summers, they may live up to 6 or 7 weeks but in colder seasons they may live 4 to 6 months.
The queen bee has a fully developed reproductive tract larger than the drone and worker bees. It has a larger and round abdomen hence can be identified easily in the swarm. The queen bee is the most fertile and productive of all. In first stage of development, all larva is fed with royal jelly for three days until potential queen bees are recognized who are continued to fed with royal jelly-rich protein diet. They could live for up to 2 to 4 years.
The drone bees are male bees who fertilize a new queen. Neither they don’t have ovipositors and stingers nor they forage for nectar or pollen. Many drones will mate with a queen and die after mating. Since they cannot work, maintain hive, and produce honey, they are sometimes expelled from the hive before winter. They may live for a few weeks to 4 months. This is how the life cycle of beehive maintains with all three categories of bees working together.