A snapshot of the life and job of a honey bee

Honeybee Colony Composition:

  • In a normal hive at peak season, there will be approximately:
    • 300-1000 drones
    • 25,000 older foragers
    • 25,000 young house bees
    • 9000 uncapped larvae
    • 6000 eggs
    • 20,000 capped brood incubating


  • In a lifetime, on average a honey bee produces 1/12th teaspoon (5 drops) of honey
  • A bee must visit about 2 million flowers to collect enough nectar to make 1lb of honey
  • Bees from the same hive visit about 225,000 flowers per day

Sugar and Energy Requirements 

  • Bees eat about 8lbs of honey to produce 1lb of beeswax
  • Beeswax production in most hives is about 1.5-2% of the total honey yield 
  • The energy in 1 ounce of honey would provide one bee with enough energy to fly around the world

Pollen Collection:

  • A bee spends 10-187 minutes collecting pollen
  • A colony collects 40-125lbs of pollen per year
  • Bees make anywhere from one to 50 trips per day to collect pollen, each trip can take up to 200 minutes

The Queen Bee

  • The queen bee is larger, but more specifically, she is longer. Her lengthy abdomen extends out beyond the tip of her wings, giving her the appearance of having short wings
  • The queen is fed every 20-30 minutes at peak brood rearing
  • Queen larvae grow 1500-1700 times the weight of the egg 

Can you spot the queen bee below?

All information included in this blog is attributed to the following source: Sammataro, D. & Avitabile, A. (2011). The Beekeepers Handbook Fourth Edition.

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