Life Cycle of a Worker Bee

Day 1: The queen lays a fertilized egg in a worker sized cell.

Day 3: Egg hatches

Day 3-8: The larvae is fed by nurse bees up to 800 times a day. They eat worker jelly at first, then transition to bee bread ( made from pollen) and honey.

Day 8: The cell is called with wax, the larvae spins a cocoon, and undergoes metamorphosis, much like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.

Day 20-21: The new bee chews a hole in the wax capping and emerges. For the next five days the worker will beg for food from nurse bees and continue to harden her exoskeleton.

Week 1-3: Young bees in the hive responsible for the tasks of feeding larvae, cleaning cells, tending to the queen, building new comb, capping honey cells, making bee bread, guarding the hive, patrolling for intruders, temperature regulation, removing dead bees, and taking brief flights outside the entrance to familiarize themselves with the hive’s location.

Week 3-6: The food and wax secreting glands of older bees begin to dry up, so these bees move away from the brood nest and towards the entrance. They begin accepting nectar from returning foragers, and are eventually recruited to forage also. For the remainder of a worker bee’s lifespan she will be foraging for pollen, nectar, honeydew, and propolis. In the summer a worker bee lives an average of 6 weeks. Workers raised in the fall have more internal fat stores and are called winter bees. They can expect to live several months, mostly inside the hive.