Bees’ lives are short and (not so) sweet.
Worker bees, like the queen, are all female, yet they are unable to reproduce. They look different from the queen because they are smaller, have shorter abdomens, and pollen baskets on their hind legs, which they use to transport pollen back from the field.
A worker bee’s average lifespan is only six weeks. They emerge from their cells and continue to work until their wings fail. So what is a day like in the life of a worked bee? Let’s find out!
Good Morning, Let’s Wake up!
Most bees rise with the sun and begin their workday buzzing. They give themselves a short clean-up after waking up, double-check their wings, and head out for the day’s work.
The first order of business is foraging for pollen, which is always an adventure full of new sights, sounds, and colors in pursuit of the ideal flower.
Some worker bees look for water, and a few protect the hive, but the majority are off exploring and pollinating like pros.
Back Home at the Hive
Once the bees have collected enough pollen, they return to the hive and search for an empty honeycomb to store their treasures. Before sealing the honeycomb with wax, the bees will transfer the nectar to one another to infuse it with their own enzymes. This makes the nectar suitable for storage.
Afternoon Siesta? Don’t Think So
It’s time to head out again and begin a never-ending pollen collection cycle. Bees can follow the sun for directions and will often leave small signs for one another if they have discovered a fruitful foraging site. This process can take hours!
During their travels to procure pollen, it’s common for bees to run (or fly) into predators such as bears, wasps, and bee-eater birds.
When a dangerous encounter like this occurs, a bee can fly up to 20 miles per hour to flee.
The worker bee is probably glad when it returns to the hive for the final time of the day, but things have grown a little messy, and someone needs to clean it up! Luckily bees work as a team. Together they clean up the hive and groom each other for any pollen that may have gotten away.
Depending on its job in the beehive, a worker bee’s shift can last twelve hours. The number of daylight hours directly affects how long a bee will be on its feet (well…wings) as it will spend every sunny second outside foraging for pollen.
So when the sun sets, the bees can finally kick back and relax! Ah finally, when the sun sets, it’s time to chill!