All bee species go through a complete metamorphosis which consists of four distinct stages. Read on for more information about the life cycle of a honeybee.
On average, the queen bee lays between 300-2,000 eggs per day. Some eggs are fertilized while others are not. A fertilized egg develops into a female worker bee (or sometimes a queen), while an unfertilized egg becomes a male drone bee. After 3 days, the egg hatches and the larval stage begins.
The larva is microscopic in size, without legs and eyes. For the first 2 days, larvae are fed a steady diet of royal jelly. As day 3 progresses, the larvae destined to develop into queen bees continue to feed on royal jelly, while the worker and drone larvae feed on honey, water and pollen. The larval stage lasts about 6 days.
This is the transition from the larval form to an adult bee. Initially, the pupa is white and glistening, but soon it begins to change. Compound eyes are the first feature to take shape. Next, the wings, legs and other body parts grow. This stage usually lasts 7.5 days for a queen bee, 12 days for a worker bee and 14.5 days for a drone.
The adult phase begins when bees are fully grown and ready to fulfill their roles. Adult queens lay thousands of eggs. Adult worker bees spend the first few weeks working within the hive, while in the final weeks they are busy with foraging for food and gathering pollen or nectar. Adult drones have the sole responsibility of mating with the queen.