There are three distinct bees in a honey bee hive.
These are the queen, the worker and the drone bee.
Let's start at the top with the Queen.
She is very important to the health of the colony. The queen is the only bee in the hive that lays eggs, therefore all the bees in the hive are her offspring, her daughters and sons.
She is an egg laying machine and is capable of laying 1,500 per day!
If the queen dies in the hive and the bees don't have a replacement ready to take over the hive will slowly die from a lack of bees.
Her importance cannot be overstated.
Next we have the worker bee. All the workers are female and they do all the tasks in the hive. When a worker bee hatches her first job is a House Bee: cleaning the cells, feeding the baby bees, taking care of the queen, packing pollen and nectar into cells, capping cells, building and repairing honeycombs, fanning to cool the hive and guarding the hive. Upon graduation from house bee duties the worker becomes a
Field Bee: gathering nectar and pollen from flowers, collecting water and a sticky substance called propolis, more about these later.
The male bee is called a Drone. This bee has an extremely important job and it does not happen in the hive. When a drone is about 12 days old it will fly to a special drone congregation area, from 5 - 30 meters in the air, where it will hope to meet a queen and mate with her. If he is successful he will die soon after mating and his job is done.
Honey bee anatomy
Bees have five eyes, two compound eyes and three tiny ocelli eyes.
They have a really cool tongue called a proboscis.
It's hollow in the middle like a straw so the bee can suck up liquids.
Another amazing thing about the worker bee is that she has two stomachs - one stomach for nourishment and the second special stomach for carrying nectar and water back to the hive.
Honey bees have two sets of wings that interlock while flying, this makes them pretty speedy. They can reach top speeds of 24 kph and her wings will beat 200 times per second.
5 Products of the Hive
Pollen is collected from plants and is carried back to the colony as small brightly coloured pollen pellets in baskets, on the forager’s hind legs. Pollen is a source of protein for the hive and is needed to feed to the baby bees.
Beeswax is produced from a special gland on their stomach that secrete the wax into little wax pockets. The bee takes the wax and chews it with her mandibles and shapes it to make honeycomb.
Propolis is a sticky substance that bees collect from the buds of trees. Bees use propolis to weatherproof their hive. Propolis has an anti-bacterial property that we are able to use for a multitude of ailments.
Royal Jelly is a milky substance produced in a special gland in the worker bee's head. For her whole life the Queen is fed Royal Jelly by the workers.
Of course there is Honey. This comes in different colours and flavours depending from which flower where the nectar was gathered
Random bee thoughts
At the height of summer a beehive can have as many as 60,000 bees.
To make one 500g jar of honey bees must collect nectar from about
2 million flowers.
It takes 556 worker bees to gather 500g's of honey.
Bees fly more than once around the world to gather 500g's of honey.
The average worker bee makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
A single beehive can make more than 100 pounds (45 kg) of extra honey and the beekeeper only harvests the extra honey made by the bees.
The average life of a honey bee during the working season is about three to six weeks.