Different Types of Honey Bees
A lot of people may think that there is only one bee species and its black and yellow and they hardly sting, as once they do it, they will die.
However, there are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide and there are different types of bees in a honey bee hive: Worker, Drone and Queen. Each has its own important roles and performs specific duties in a bee colony.
What is the queen bee?
She can be recognized by her abdomen, which is usually smooth and elongated, extending well beyond her folded wings.
What is the queen bee's role?
Her function in the hive is one of production. She is normally the only reproductive female in the colony. Egg-laying begins in early spring, initiated when the first fresh pollen is brought home by the workers. Egg production will continue until fall, or as long as pollen is available.
At the height of her productivity, the queen could lay as many as 2000 eggs each day. A queen bee can live for up to five years, but her period of usefulness rarely exceeds two or three years. Younger queens produce many more eggs, and older ones may produce excessive drones. Many beekeepers re-queen their colonies every year or two. Older queens are often superseded/replaced by the workers without any assistance, or even knowledge, of the beekeeper. Good quality queens can be reared by an experienced beekeeper, but a beginner will usually do better to buy good queens from a reputable producer.
What are worker bees?
Workers are the smallest of the bee castes, but are by far the most numerous. All workers are female, and normally incapable of reproduction. They are unable to mate, but in a hopelessly queenless colony, workers may begin to lay unfertilized eggs, which develop into drones.
Workers do all of the necessary tasks within a colony including:
Workers have well-developed compound eyes on the sides of their heads, and three simple eyes (ocelli) at the vertex. Their tongue is well developed and elongated for taking up nectar from flowers.
What are drones?
Drones are the male honey bees. The only function of a drone is to fertilize a young queen bee.