Worker bees

Nearly all the bees in the colony are worker bees, and they are all daughters of the single queen bee who heads the colony. In the busy summer season, the worker bee will live only for about eight weeks.

Honey bees are such successful social insects as they practice division of labour.

The young bee starts her working life cleaning the hive and caring for her younger sisters, who are still larvae. It is important for her to remain in the hive, as she is still soft bodied, and cannot yet fly strongly.

When she is a little older, she makes wax cells – this is undertaken in teams, as the temperature around the wax building needs to be quite high at 33-35°C.

Only when she is about three weeks old does she leave the hive to visit flowers and gather nectar and pollen.

Read about other bees in the hive, the queen bee and drone bees.

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A young worker emerging from its cocoon cell

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A young worker bee tending to larvae

Honey bees forage on a succession of flowers, during nearly every month of the year - see our photos below