Friday, September 2, 2011

The Vancouver Honey Bee Maternity Ward

Worker bees tending to the larvae
These great photos by Dan (not the queen although sometimes he thinks he is) of our babies shows the development of eggs through to larvae.  The bee larvae hatch from the eggs in 3-4 days after the queen lays them and are fed bee bread (a mixture of royal jelly, nectar or diluted honey, and pollen) by worker bees.  Queen larvae are fed pure royal jelly right up to the time their cell is capped.  The cells are capped with wax by worker bees when the larva pupates.  Their development is much like that of a butterfly.  Queens emerge from their cells in 16 days, workers in 21 days and drones (lazy  
Lazy drone
males) in 24 days.  The average lifespan of a queen is 3-4 years, the drones usually die after mating or are kicked out of the hive (they have no stinger) before winter and the worker bees may live six weeks in the summer or survive several months in the hive over the winter.

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