What are the 9 Jobs in a Beehive?
There are 9 main roles that you can have as a newly born bee, and you will likely switch roles as they age. Most bees will start out at the top of this list, and then they’ll slowly move down with a few exceptions.
Did you know that there are 100 female bees to 1 male bee? The majority of these bees are all females, excluding the last, which are “male drone bees.”
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Here are the 9 types of bees in any beehive:
- Nurse / Housebee
The nurse/housebee cares for the other young, makes sure they’re taken care of, as well as feed the young larvae.
As soon as a young bee is born it cleans itself up and makes sure the others nearby are clean.
They aren’t immediately born with a stinger and great wings however, which is why they can’t take on a role such as “foraging” just yet. Instead they will slowly progress down this list (sometimes skipping one or two, such as the Queen or Attendant) as they become more mature and able to handle more difficult roles within the hive.
The undertaker role involves removing dead bees from the hive and cleaning up any debris from said dead bees. With several bees coming in/out of the hive constantly, it comes as no surprise that occasionally some may collapse!
The goal of the undertaker is to make sure there all space within the hive is reserved for working, functioning bees only- the rest need to leave.
As a young bee matures, it gains the ability to secrete wax. They use this ability to repair damages & cracks with “propolis,” which is a sticky substance bees collect from tree resin.
The goal of the architect is to make sure the hive is stable, functioning, and well-built.
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- Honeymakers & Organizers
The honeymakers & organizers collect pollen & nectar from returning foraging bees. Raw nectar requires digestive enzymes & fanning, so these bees do that while the forages continue foraging.
They create honey, and organize the honey into storage so that reserves are built up for Winter.
The final goal of this category of bees is to clean off the foraging bees- all nectar & pollen should be removed from the bee so that they may bring a full bounty back from the next trip!
This role isn’t the most important, but still quite important because they are producing honey.
- Queen’s Attendants
Not many bees will get this prestigious status. Only a couple dozen bees are selected to be the Queen’s attendants, who must make sure that the queen is fully taken care of.
The Queen is too busy to clean or groom herself which is what the attendant bees are enlisted for.
This is likely the most important bee in the hive and this role is reserved only for the oldest bees.
They forage & pollinate flowers- their goal is to collect as much pollen & nectar and bring it to the honey makers. Foragers must complete other roles before getting to this level.
When a worker bee matures it gets a working stinger filled with venom, and that’s how you become a forager. They search a 3 mile radius from the hive to find nectar & pollen, and return it to the hive to drop off.
These cycles continues all day during sunlight. Sometimes they travel hundreds of miles per day!
The bee works this job until it collapses from exhaustion, or its wings get too destroyed for it to work anymore.
The guard bee also requires a mature stinger- they stand watch over the hives entrances to make sure bees from other hives, hornets, insects, and humans stay away from the hive. If you’ve ever been stung from a bee near a hive, it was likely from a guard.
This job ensures the future population of the hive. She can lay upwards of 2,000 eggs per day, and she also decides which eggs to lay (female or male).
The Queen also lives the longest- while most worker bees live several months, the Queen can live 2-5 years.
Drones are the lazy members of the beehive that don’t really produce anything. They don’t carry their weight in the hive because they don’t make honey (but eat it), they don’t protect the hive or the Queen, and they don’t help take care of the young.
The only job a Drone Bee has is to mate with other queen’s outside of the hive to spread DNA. There are about 100 female worker bees compared to one lazy male bee.
They are usually kicked out over Winter because they don’t produce anything. While an easy job, they don’t get to live long!
Thanks for reading! Which job would you like most as a bee?
-Wildlife x Team International