- A typical honeybee hive has 60,000-100,000 bees in the summer and 10,000 bees in the winter.
- Most of those 60-100K bees are female . In the summer, the hive will have a few hundred drones (males) – but that’s all. There is typically only 1 queen in the hive.
- Drones have exactly one job in a hive – to go out during the day and mate with a virgin queen.. (Once they mate they die!)..
- The female bees (aka worker bees) do all of the other jobs including housekeeping, taking care of the larva (nurse bees), guarding the entrance, undertaking (removing dead bees from the hive) and foraging .
- The queen bee’s job is to lay eggs. The workers take care of feeding her.
- Female bees have stingers but can only sting once and then they die.
- Drones don’t have stingers
- The queen bee has a stinger, but she only uses it to kill rival queens. She can sting multiple times.
- The venom in a bee sting is acidic.. and causes our bodies to produce cortisol (similar to cortizone) – which is why some folks use “bee sting” (or apitherapy) for a variety of issues.
- Worker bees live only about 6 weeks in the summer (and a few months in the winter).
- Queen bees can live up to 3-4 years (if the beekeeper doesn’t accidently squash her!)
- Honeybees don’t hibernate in the winter. Instead they get in a tight cluster, with the queen in the middle. They stay warm by vibrating their wings.
- Because they don’t hibernate, bees need to have enough stores in the hive to make it through the winter months – this means they need 60-100 lbs of honey if the hives are in the New England area.