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How Long Do Bees Live?

Metalic Green sweat bee feeds on a tick seed flower

Bees are some of the most important creatures in the world. Not only are they responsible for pollinating our plants, but they also make some truly delicious honey.

It’s said that without bees, humans would only survive for around four years. So, it is pretty safe to say that we owe them a lot!

For an insect so vital to our existence, it begs the question: How long do they live? That’s precisely what you’ll learn in this article. So keep reading to find out!

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How Long Does a Worker and Drone Bee Live For?

Bumblebee on a flower
Image Credit: Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

The average lifespan of a bee is about 6 weeks. However, there are three types of bees in a colony—the workers, the drones, and the queen—and each type has a different lifespan.

Worker bees are the most common type of bee. They are also the bees that you typically think of when you think of a bee. These are the bees that gather pollen and make honey.

The lifespan of a worker bee is only about 4 to 8 weeks during the summer. However, their lifespan is even shorter during the winter.

During the winter, worker bees live for an average of 6 weeks. This is because they spend the majority of their time indoors during the winter months, and they don’t have access to as much food.

Drones typically live for about 55 days. Depending on seasonal conditions, the lifespan of a drone can be slightly shorter or longer.

How Long Does a Queen Bee Live For?

The queen bee is the most important in the colony. She is responsible for laying all of the eggs that will become bees. These highly-important bees outlive their worker and drone counterparts—queen bees can live for up to 2 years!

While the lifespan of a queen bee is much longer than that of other types of bees, it’s still relatively short when compared to other animals.

Queen bees die from a variety of causes. They can die from old age, from being killed by a rival queen, or from being killed by the workers in the colony.

However, the most common cause of death for queen bees is from being unable to lay eggs. This happens when the queen bee is unable to mate or when she’s been injured.

Why Do Bees Reject the Queen?

There are instances in nature when a colony of bees will reject the reigning queen. This happens for various reasons, but the most common reason is that the colony is unfamiliar to the queen. All queen bees produce and emit a pheromone specific to their colony.

If a queen bee is introduced to a colony that she’s not familiar with, the bees in that colony will be able to smell that she is not from there. This will cause them to become agitated, and they may attack her.

In some cases, the bees may simply reject her and force her to leave the colony.

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Bees are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem, and they play a vital role in the pollination of plants. With lifespans that are shorter than most other animals, bees sure are busy little creatures!

So the next time you see a bee hard at work, take a moment to appreciate all they do for us—and the planet.

Featured Image Credit: Barbara Storms, Shutterstock


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