Have you ever wondered about the life cycle of the bees? Here, we take you inside our hives to show you how baby worker bees are born. Warning: spoilers ahead -- no storks involved!
First, the Queen lays her eggs at the base of a clean wax cell located in what is known as the brood box of the hive. That's right -- bees clean the wax cells before the queen comes through to lay eggs. If the cells aren't clean, the Queen bee makes them do it again until it's all clean! After the eggs are laid, the Queen retires and the other bees take over.
In these photos, the little white sticks that you can see are the eggs. Here you can see worker bees tending to the eggs' needs. One of their main jobs is to make sure that the brood chamber maintains a temperature of about 94 degrees Fahrenheit to incubate the eggs. They have interesting ways of heating and cooling the brood box chamber. To heat the hive, the worker bees will gather close together -- their proximity and buzzing will generate heat. To cool the place down, the bees will gather water and drop it in the hive and then beat their wings to act as fans. Talk about old-school air conditioning!
The eggs hatch into larvae in 3 days and nurse bees take over caring for the larvae. The nurse bees feed the larvae a serving of royal jelly to get started and then switch to honey and pollen for approximately 6 days.
The larvae then become inactive pupae. They spend 14 days as inactive pupae, which they spend in their honeycomb cells capped off with wax. Here they are growing into strong female worker bees! On the 21st day, these ladies emerge through the cappings. In these pictures, you can see our wax bees placing the cappings on. Did you know that wax bees have four segments of their abdomen that make wax for comb construction?
There you have it -- from egg to bee. Stay tuned for more deep dives into the hive.