Types of Honey Bees

Down the ranks, from queens to workers…

Every hive contains different types of honey bees. If you have ever seen the hustle and bustle in a beehive, you wouldn’t think that bees are highly organized creatures. There is a ‘system in the madness’ and every single bee has a very specific role in the hierarchy.

There are only 3 types of honeybees: the queen, the drones (male bees) and the workers. Each hive contains a single queen, tens of thousands of workers, and anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand male drones. They are visually distinguishable because of their different appearance.

honeybees: queen, worker, drone

Whatever rank a bee occupies in her future is pre-determined by the queen. The future of each offspring is determined by whether the queen lays fertilized or unfertilized eggs.  Workers and future queens develop from fertilized eggs, while drones hatch from unfertilized eggs. The size of the cell also plays a substantial role in the future role of a bee. Future queens and drones occupy larger cells than workers.

All types of honey bees have a strict ‘list of duties’ that is pre-determined at birth and these are non-negotiable. Although it’s hard to believe, but there is no ‘mutiny in the hive’ when it comes to bees!

To find out more about each ‘rank’, click below:

Queen Bee


Worker Bees

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