All bee life cycles go through these stages, although there are great variations between the life cycles of solitary, honey and bumblebees, (as explained elsewhere on my site – see links.
But for now, let’s focus on the honey bee life cycle. Here’s my little drawing giving an overview (you can download a larger PDF version below):
Unlike bumblebee colonies, honey bee colonies can survive the winter, provided they have enough food resources, are able to keep sufficiently warm, and are free of diseases and predators.
However, in the winter, colonies are smaller than in the summer: there are no drones, and perhaps part of the colony left the hive (in a swarm) to form a new nest elsewhere.
There are three kinds of honey bees that you will find living inside a beehive – the Queen, the Worker and the Drone. Honey bees are highly specialized. A hive needs each of the hive members to perform their job well, or the hive will not prosper. They must work as a unit and be willing to sacrifice themselves if need be to keep the hive alive and thriving.
The Drone is the male bee. He has a very large and thick body. A drone performs no functions inside the hive. In the hive, he rests and is fed by workers. His sole duty is to fly around at an altitude of 40 to up to 200 feet in search of virgin queen bees on their maiden flights. His odds of finding one are slim, but if he is fortunate to meet and mate in flight, the virgin queen retains his endophallus (storing it inside her body for future use) and he falls to the ground and dies.
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2. Beekeeper YKK Suit Combo – https://amzn.to/2Xk3xLz
3. Beekeeper Journal – https://amzn.to/2WAxTd5
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6. Beekeeping Gloves:
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– Cow Leather Beekeeping Gloves – https://amzn.to/2uiSExd
7. Queen Marking Kit – https://amzn.to/2Wm1kCw