One of these bees is not like the others. In fact, there are many different species of honeybees in America and worldwide, but all are categorized according to their function within the colony. Worker bees are tasked with brood rearing, building comb and collecting nectar and pollen for food. Drones are present in the hive for the sole purpose of mating with the queen, as they do not have the structures to build comb or collect pollen and no stingers. Though all bees in a hive work together and are essential for its survival, every hive must have an active queen. The queen bee can live for up to five years (as compared to no more than 6 months for workers and drones) and can lay 250,000 eggs per year. Workers, drones, and the queen have slightly different body types also, according to their job in the hive.
Knowing how to visually identify the queen and interpret her activities is essential to any beekeeper. To the novice, this is no easy task. Fortunately, we were able to identify the queen in one of our weaker hives, which is a positive sign. We are hopeful that with a little assistive feeding over the winter, this queen and her hive will survive and thrive next spring.
Can you find her?