Who Is the Boss of a Beehive?

There are anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 bees in a hive.

Of these, 25,000 to 40,000 are female worker bees. There is only one queen in a hive. The rest of the bees are drones, or male bees.

Each group of bees has certain tasks within the colony. The queen’s only responsibility is to lay eggs. She has been fed a special royal jelly by the other bees to make her grow faster and look different from the worker bees.

On her mating flight, the queen is fertilized by a drone. After this, the queen can lay eggs for the rest of her life. She may lay them at the rate of 2,000 per day. Altogether, in her five-year life, she can lay 1,000,000 eggs!

The drones in the hive have only one task, to fertilize the queen. The drone who mates with the queen dies, and the rest of the males fare no better. They are unwanted back at the hive, for they are no longer useful.

The workers do all the chores in the hive. Young worker bees dean the hive, care for the young, and take care of the honey. Older workers gather nectar.

Others protect the hive. Worker bees usually live for 35 days.