Honeybee populations are on the decline due to lack of habitat, monoculture, pesticides and a variety of diseases. After learning about the struggles of honeybees and how important they are to our food supply, we installed two honeybee colonies. Watching them and their complex community is fascinating.
Honeybee colonies include a queen, a few hundred drones and about 60,000 worker bees. Inside the hive, honeybees transition through a variety of jobs over their 6 week life cycle. Following are their roles by age.
- Day 1-2: Clean cells, keep brood warm
- Day 3-5: Feed older larva
- Day 6-11: feed youngest larva
- Day 12-17: produce wax, build comb, carry food, clear out dead
- Day 18-21: guard entrance to hive and honey
- Day 22-40/45 (until death): collect pollen, nectar, water, pollinate plants