How Long Do Bees Live? (Lifespan of Worker, Queen, Drone)

To carry out full-fledged and high-quality beekeeping, you need to know all the features of these bees. It is important to understand how long bees live, the cycle and period of their life, what can shorten it, and what negative factors reduce the life and life of these honey workers.

how long do bees live

Table of Contents

how long do bees live?

it is very difficult to give an unambiguous answer. This is due to the fact that this parameter is influenced by many factors. Moreover, they can increase the term or reduce it up to 10 times.

So, for example, if the family is strong enough and the worker bee collects a lot of honey and the process of reproduction takes place intensively, then it is most likely that an ordinary worker will have a life span of about 1 month. Whereas under adverse conditions in the family, the life expectancy of a bee increases to approximately 1 year.

In this case, the main factor in reducing the life of a worker bee is its intense wear it is forced to produce a lot of honey, take care of babies, clean the house, collect nectar and pollen. And this does not contribute to the life expectancy of an ordinary bee.

But with all this, it is necessary to take into account the peculiarity of the structure in the insect hive. Since it is the hierarchy and social life that affects how long each individual lives.

how long do worker bees live?

The lifestyle and functional purpose of a worker bee in a hive is to perform the following actions:

  • Collection of pollen and nectar from flowers.
  • House cleaning.
  • Delivery of food for the entire population of individuals in one family, regardless of the stage of development and the purpose – the larva or the queen.
  • Cell building.
  • Family protection.
  • Maintenance of larvae with a queen, as well as drones.

The following factors influence how long a working individual lives:

  • What is the weather like during honey harvest?
  • Which brood according to the time of year does a particular insect belong to.
  • How well his nutrition throughout the entire period of existence.
  • Conditions created during wintering.

If we consider the life of a bee, depending on the moment at which it was born, then it is necessary to highlight the following main characteristics:

  • Spring workers live about 40 days .
  • Appeared in June – up to 30 days .
  • In the autumn, they become real long-livers and can last from 6 months to 1 year .
  • Overwintered honey plants have a reduced lifespan, which usually fluctuates around the 25-30 day mark .

If it appeared at the end of October, then it is likely that it will survive the winter, but will die during the first spring months due to unstable temperatures with sudden changes in temperature parameters, lack of flow and sufficient pollen. These factors negatively affect the immune system and significantly reduce the lifespan of a bee.

how long do queen bee live?

The queen bee is the head of the family, whose rules are based on matriarchy. Its size is increased, and the genitals are intensively developed. Her way of life and main functional duties is the implementation of egg laying in order to control the number of her colony. It is around it that the hierarchy is built and the rest of the individuals obey it and provide all the conditions of “comfort”.

But even here there are factors that affect how long a queen bee lives. If the family is strong, then the life of the queen reaches 5 years. This is ensured by the fact that the main insect should not work hard, laying too many eggs. Therefore, her body wears out more slowly, and she remains in a productive state longer.

In addition, a large number of honey bees provide a sufficient amount of food. And it is rich in all the necessary nutrients, proteins, and valuable biochemical components. Therefore, in this case, the waste products of bees also affect the duration of the existence of the queen.

But if the family is weak, then 2-3 years will have to be subtracted from the life of the queen. In this case, the main insect is forced to intensively lay eggs in order to increase the clutch and the number of new ones in the family. And she has no way out, because if she reduces the number of eggs she lays, then the workers will simply replace her with another new main individual.

how long do drone bee live?

The drone is the male representative of the hive, whose main function is to fertilize the queen. It does not perform any other actions. This is what determines how long a drone lives. His deadlines are shorter.

They appear only at the end of spring when they are needed. After the expiration of 10-14 days, they are ready for fertilization of the queen. But between them, there is a struggle for it, during which some of the individuals die. Thus,  life expectancy can be only a few days.

But it is almost impossible to say exactly how many days a drone lives. After all, if he fertilized the queen, then he dies. If he loses the fight, the workers will drive him out of the house, and he will die, since he will not even be able to get his own food.

But if there is a need in the family to fertilize the queen further, then bees can leave several suitable males for further mating with the queen.

Comparison Lifespan of bees

As can be seen from all of the above, the average lifespan of each insect species depends on what function it performs, as well as on external conditions. In principle, the average lifespan of a worker bee is about 30 days, of a queen about 3 years, and of a drone before fertilization.

For convenience, the data are summarized in a table.

Type of beeLive in favorable conditionsLive in Unfavorable conditions
working40 days20 days
Queen5 years2 years
Drone10 days2-3 months

effect of Lifestyle of bee

Also, how long an individual of each species lives is affected by the lifestyle and strength of the nest. If all bees are not forced to work for wear and tear, then the terms are shifted upwards. Otherwise, they are significantly reduced.

What is life expectancy of bee?

In order for the life of bees to be of high quality, beekeepers need to take care of their apiary intensively enough. It is necessary to pay attention to the creation of the following conditions:

  • Ensuring quality top dressing if the number of honey plants is insufficient.
  • Ensuring the right conditions for wintering.
  • Inspection of the family at each time of the year for possible diseases and pests that can intensively weaken the immunity of the entire nest.
  • Ensuring the right amount of honey plants – if they are not in the area, then it may be necessary to take out the apiary, providing the right amount of food and collected honey.

The life of bees in a hollow, as well as wasps, is about a quarter longer than those that live in hives. The following factors influence how long wild bees live in nature:

  • There is no human factor – no one takes food away.
  • It is the lack of selection of reserves that makes bees work less, and, accordingly, their body wears out less.
  • In wild individuals, the protective immune forces of the body work more efficiently.
  • The factor where wasps and wild representatives live also affects. They select the most optimal places to reduce negative climatic and weather factors.
  • The brood is produced in a smaller volume.

How long do honey bees live after stinging?

Despite the fact that people are afraid of these bees and their bites, in fact, it is they who have to pay for the sting process. After all, when a wasp or a working insect sticks its sting into the victim, it remains in the skin.

Since the insect tries to pull it out with all its efforts, it pulls out not only the sting from its body, but also part of the intestine along with it. The wound is formed so extensive that the life expectancy of a worker or honey bee in this case is reduced to several hours.

Possessing this information about various periods in the life of bees, as well as the mutual influence of the functional purpose and life expectancy, one can orient oneself in their way of existence and influence it in the most positive way.