Birth Of A Bee

The hives are growing! On Sunday, April 26, 2015 we observed the miraculous birth of a new bee being born into the hive. This was our fourth hive check and we noticed there were empty brood cells in the middle of the frames. Inside some of these cells we saw a tiny rice sized shape. As we continued to watch, we noticed that in the cells surrounding these empty ones were new bees who were ready to emerge from their cells. We watched in amazement as the bee  fought its tiny little self out of the cell and joined the ranks with the rest of its brothers and sisters in the hive!

Upon further investigation we went back to look again at the rice sized shapes we had found earlier, only to realize that these were the minuscule eggs that the queen was laying. We started doing some research into the details of the life cycle of a worker bee from egg to larvae to pupa. Here is what we found:

The cells must be spotless before the queen will lay an egg. If the cell is not up to her standards she will move on and find an acceptable cell to lay an egg in.

The queen will then choose if she wants to lay in a standard sized cell (for worker bee eggs) or a larger cell (for drone eggs). If she lays in a standard cell, the queen lays a fertilized egg and the bee will grow into a female worker bee. If she chooses the large cell, the egg she lays will be unfertilized and becomes a male drone bee. The worker bees determine the ratio of how many small versus large cells to build. The queen positions the egg in an upright position (standing on end) at the bottom of a cell. The eggs are only 0.4 of a millimeter wide.

Three days later the egg hatches into a larva. At first, very tiny, the larvae grow quickly, shedding its skin five times. These little creatures have incredibly active appetites, eating 1,300 meals a day. The nurse bees feed the larvae royal jelly, and later they’re weaned to a mixture of honey and pollen. In five days, they are 1,570 times larger than their original size. At this time the worker bees seal the larvae in the cell with a capping of beeswax. Once sealed in, the larvae spin a cocoon around their bodies.

The larva has now become a pupa. The larvae is beginning to take on the familiar features of an adult bee. The eyes, legs, and wings take form. Coloration begins with the eyes and finally, the hairs that cover the bee’s body develop. After 12 days, the now adult bee chews her way through the wax capping to join the hive.

More About Southwest Honey Co.

Raw, Local Honey & Gifts
Our unpasteurized and raw honey is bottled directly from the hive, so you can enjoy with confidence that it has pure nutrients, enzymes, and pollen. . .
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Learn More About Pollinators
We hold hands-on, fun and educational events and classes for kids (Explore The Honey Bee), adults (Bees & Brew) and seniors (Bees & Tea). . .
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Help Save Our Bees
Did you know that we can thank a honey bee for one of every three bites of food we take? Join in our cause to help save the bees. . .
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