Bees are social insects; they live in groups called colonies, inside their habitats called bee hives. A colony is a very organized system with each bee given a duty and a role to perform. Bees are also very responsible and hardworking insects because they do their jobs very well and stick to their duties for the survival of the rest of the colony.
There are three types of bee individuals in the colony. Each has different functions and tasks. A bee population has about 70,000 in late summer. It is composed of a Queen bee, thousands of Workers, and hundreds of Drones.
The Queen Bee
The Queen bee is the largest in the colony and is the only female bee that is fertile. She is the head and life in the colony revolves around her. She starts her life as a two-day old female worker larva. The younger Workers feed her with a mixture called Royal jelly and she comes out of her cell after eleven days of development.
She mates with several Drones (male bees) in three days. This is the only allotted time for her to mate during which enough sperm will be stored and fertilized in her body. These eggs will be laid after ten days.
The Queen lays fertilized and unfertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs are the female ones or the Workers and the unfertilized eggs are the Drones or the male bees.
The Queen secretes a pheromone which sends messages and keeps the other bees sterile.
The female Workers are the ones who build the comb in which honey is produced and stored and where eggs are being laid. There are about 55,000 of them in the hive.
Worker bees are the laborers of the colonies and do jobs not related to reproduction. They tend to the queen, the larvae and even the younger Drones. They are the ones who gather nectar and pollen, supply food and water, and produce beeswax. They travel thousands of miles away to gather nectar.
One Worker only produces half a teaspoon of honey. An entire colony produces about 200 pounds of honey every year.
As they grow older and more mature, they also act as guardians of their territories. They are the one who attack and sting. However, a bee only stings once then dies. In other words, Worker bees do all the work, cleaning, nursing, beeswax production, temperature control, security jobs, and foraging.
Drones are male honey bees. Their only duty is to impregnate the queen and cooperate in the mating season. They don't collect nectar nor pollenate and forage. They also are unable to sting because they lack stingers and don't have a role in colony defense. Because of their limited functions and use, they are usually driven out of the colony during winter and discouraged to get in again and so they die of starvation.
Bees are indeed a very hardworking bunch. They perform their duties and responsibilities for the survival of their own kind and colony. Their collaboration and system structure is on great example for a good organization to work.