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How do honeybees live?

Worker honeybees make wax cells inside their nest.Worker honeybees make wax cells inside their nest.Honeybees live in huge colonies of thousands of bees. The queen is the only bee that lays eggs. The male bees, called drones, do no work, but one will mate with the queen. The other female bees are called workers. They build the nest, clean it and protect it from attackers. They gather nectar and pollen from flowers and bring it back to the nest. They “chew” nectar until it turns into sticky honey and store it in the nest as food.

A worker honeybeeA worker honeybee

The queen honeybeeThe queen honeybee

Inside the nest

The queen bee lays her eggs inside small hexagonal (six-sided) cells made from wax, called the honeycomb. The workers use other cells to store the honey they have made. Inside their cells, the eggs soon hatch into larvae. They are looked after by the workers and fed with honey and pollen. After nine days, the workers cap the cells with wax. Inside, the larvae pupate and emerge as adult bees.

Honeybee larvae develop into adult workers.Honeybee larvae develop into adult workers.
The queen and workers in a swarmThe queen and workers in a swarmWhen the colony grows too big, the queen and a number of workers fly off to another site to build a new hive. The workers form a mass of bees around her called a swarm. Meanwhile, in the old colony, some new queens are born. The first one to hatch out kills all the other queen larvae, ensuring that she becomes the only queen. She then mates and lays her eggs.

A honeybee queen may lay up to 2000 eggs per day.

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