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Author Topic: The Honey Bees life cycle  (Read 635 times)
leechmann
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« on: March 09, 2009, 03:20:40 AM »

OK, time for some new guy questions. I'm sure I could find this information by looking it up, but I think I'll ask the questions, anyway. First how long does the average Italian bee live? Secondly, how long does the average queen bee live? Lastly, I have heard that during a good honey flow, that a bee can wear it's wings out in 2 weeks. Is there any truth to that? Let me know what you know.

Thanks, Leechmann

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BeeHopper
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 09:25:10 AM »

OK, time for some new guy questions. I'm sure I could find this information by looking it up, but I think I'll ask the questions, anyway. First how long does the average Italian bee live? Secondly, how long does the average queen bee live? Lastly, I have heard that during a good honey flow, that a bee can wear it's wings out in 2 weeks. Is there any truth to that? Let me know what you know.

Thanks, Leechmann


Worker Bees average 6 weeks during the spring and summer.  Queens can live 3 or more years, but they are judged by their egg laying ability, you will get varying answers to that question. Once House bees become foragers, they do wear out their wings in a short time.
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Cindi
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 12:21:27 PM »

Leechman, I think that BeeHopper did a pretty good job of answering the question.

The Italian honeybee and other races of the honeybee common to the beekeeper that are cultivated, pretty much have the same life span.  The honeybee that is born in late summer/early fall will live longer than the spring/summer bees.  They are the bees that live for several months when the bees are clustered and don't leave the hive, this is approximate.

What wears out the bees and eventually causes death is the fraying and wearing out of the wings.  The average honeybee will fly about 800 km during their lifetime, whether this is a two week period or longer, that is average.  This is just a little trivia from a book called the Biology of the Honeybee by Mark Winston.

The bees remain in the hive for about three weeks before they venture out to take on the forager duties.  Prior to that they remain within the colony firstly cleaning cells, moving on to feeding brood, guarding, and then their final task in their life, to leave the colony to get food.  Interesting stuff.

The queen can live for several years, many have documented their queens even living for 5 years.  Most commercial beekeepers requeen their colonies every year to attempt to ensure that they have very viable egg laying machines.

Others will chime in, but you have struck a very interesting thread here, good for you to ask these questions.  We all learn just a little more every day of our lives.  Have that most wonderful and awesome day, life, health.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2009, 06:21:02 PM »

>First how long does the average Italian bee live?

In the winter, six months.  In the summer six weeks.

> Secondly, how long does the average queen bee live?

Three years, before the acaracides.

> Lastly, I have heard that during a good honey flow, that a bee can wear it's wings out in 2 weeks. Is there any truth to that?

Sure.  But they have already done a lot of work in the hive before they started doing that.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbasics.htm
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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