How long does a bee live: duration of existence in days from birth to death

How long does a bee live: duration of existence in days from birth to death

Keeping bee colonies is a big responsibility. To ensure proper care and collect large portions of tasty and he althy honey, you need to know how long bees live, the purpose of various types of insects, and life features. One must have an idea of the factors that affect the life of insects both positively and negatively.

How long do bees live on average

It is impossible to name a specific period of life of an insect, since this parameter depends on several factors.

The easiest way to start from seasonality:

  • up to 35 days live worker bees bred in March;
  • up to 30 days live bred in June;
  • 28-30 days of life during the honey collection period;
  • up to 80-100 days live individuals bred in September-October.

In nature, the life expectancy of wild bees is 25-30% longer than that of domestic insects. If there is no brood in the bee colony in the apiary, then the life expectancy of insects is about a year.

Factors affecting life expectancy

The life of each unit of the bee community from birth to death is divided into 4 stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult). Life expectancy is determined by various factors:

  • the purpose and type of activity of the insect in the bee colony (drone, worker, female);
  • community fortresses (in a weak family, individuals live for a short time);
  • quality of care from the beekeeper. Thanks to proper care, bees are protected from diseases, infections, and hibernate safely;
  • living conditions. For the full life of insects, it is important to use hives of the correct design, which provide comfortable living conditions in hot and cold weather;
  • recycled products.

The number of days of life is significantly reduced in cases of malnutrition, especially in winter, diseases.

Life span

The type of activity of the bee, its role in the community also determine the lifespan of insects.

Worker bee

A young individual up to 15-18 days old is engaged in work on the hive (cleans the combs, occasionally flies out of the hive). From 18 days of age, she begins to collect nectar and pollen. On average, working (honey-bearing) individuals live 30-40 days in summer.

The intensity of the honey harvesting process affects the lifespan. The faster the workers harvest the sweet product, the shorter the lifespan. Since insects do not have a "collective" activity in winter, life expectancy increases. During the cold period, the worker bee does not collect nectar, takes care of the offspring, cleans the hive.

Queen Bee

Due to the fact that worker bees feed royal jelly (containing special proteins) to a specific larva, a queen develops from it.This is a female whose main activity is laying eggs. The formation of a female from an egg to an adult uterus lasts 15-17 days.

Working individuals care for the female: clean her body, provide food, clean the cells for laying eggs. The uterus in the family has a long life span. On average, the female lives 3-4 years. But it happens that with quality care, the uterus can live 5-7 years.


The purpose of drones is to inseminate queens. Drone development lasts 24 days. They appear in the bee community in late May-early June. Several hundred or even thousands of drones can accumulate in a hive. Individuals reach sexual maturity in 12-14 days. During the warmer part of the day, the drones mate with the female during flight. Since during the process of insemination, part of the male genital organ comes off and remains in the reproductive system of the uterus, the individual dies.

Sometimes lifespan is lengthened (up to 6 months) if drones stay in colonies (in hives with unfertilized females or in colonies where there are no queens). But overwintered drones lose their ability to fertilize queens.

Life after the bite

It is believed that bees always die after a sting due to the loss of their sting. However, this is a common misconception. Since the bite does not always end with the separation of the sting, sometimes insects safely pull it out of the victim's body. There are also types of bees, a feature of which is the growth of a new sting. But it is fair that after the bite and loss of the sting, most individuals die.

Only thanks to knowledge of the biological cycle of development and life of insects, the rules of care can ensure the long life of bee colonies.At the same time, it should be borne in mind that this is a self-rejuvenating "organism" that remains viable with the skillful care of the beekeeper.

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