Where did the bee come from?

The bee family is a rather complex mechanism, so it is important for the beekeeper to know how bees are born. In beekeeping, this is necessary in order to regulate the size of the family and to be able to increase the number of bee families in time.

History of bees

The emergence of new working bees begins with eggs. In winter, the queen forms a new colony, laying them in each cell inside the cell. Worker bees hatch from fertilized eggs. Unfertilized - will become drones.

In order for the colony to develop, the uterus must lay fertilized eggs. Workers derived from them will procure food and care for the family.

Did you know? The history of beekeeping dates back more than 4, 500 years.

Each colony has only one queen, which mates at an early age with males and collects more than 5 million sperm. She makes one mating flight and accumulates enough sperm to lay eggs throughout her life.

Natural way

The egg-laying process is considered a natural breeding method. Their length is from 1 to 1.5 mm. This is almost half of the rice grain. In the process, the uterus moves along the frame, carefully examining each cell before laying the egg there.

For a day, she will set them aside around 2000. She starts laying from the center. Honey bees, royal jelly and other products for the larvae will be placed in the side cells of the working bees.

Check out the best beehive options.

How bees mate

A young uterus flies to the place where the drones are located - male honey bees. Her first flight occurs when she begins to master the hive. She attracts them with secreted pheromones.

A drone flies to the queen and mates with her in flight. It can fly up to mating up to 3 times a day and on subsequent days several more times. The average flight time is about 20–25 minutes.

Both individuals mate in the air at an altitude of 10–20 m from the ground. After the ejaculation, the drone falls off from the queen, and its endofallus comes off the body, remaining attached to the recently fertilized uterus.

The next drone that mates with it will remove the previous endofallus and eventually lose its own after ejaculation. After mating, the males die due to abdominal rupture after removal of endofallus.

Male bees that survived the flight are thrown out of the hive because they have completed their only mission.

During her life, the queen carries out only one mating flight. After several mating, she will accumulate more than 100 million sperm in her oviducts. Semen quality will vary.

This is necessary to ensure better offspring survival. Sperm reserves are enough to fertilize eggs throughout the life of the uterus. If she runs out of sperm, then the fertilization function will transfer to the new queen.

Important! The composition of honey can include plant pollen, which is one of the common allergens, so it should not be given to children under 1 year old and with caution to children under 5 years old.

How bees are born

The uterus controls the sex of its offspring. When eggs pass through the ovary into the oviduct, it can determine whether a particular egg is fertilized or not. Unfertilized eggs become drones, and fertilized ones become honey bees or queens.

Working honey bees do not mate, but they can lay sterile eggs that turn into drones.

The uterus lays eggs in structural oval cells attached to the ceiling of the nest. In a hive, it’s a frame with honeycombs. She lays up to 2000 eggs a day. The egg attaches to the cell with the mucous membrane.

At the first stage of development, the digestive system, nervous system and external membranes are formed in it. Three days later, the larvae hatch. They will eat foods laid back by honey bees.

Larvae have no legs, eyes, antennae, or wings. They look like rice grain with a small mouth. Their length is about 1.6 mm.

The first 3 days they feed on royal jelly, and the next three - a mixture of honey and bee bread.

During this time, they significantly increase in size and begin to occupy the entire volume of cells. By the end of the sixth day, the bees seal the cells. The larvae will be in them for 12 days. During this time, a young working bee is formed in each cell.

The first 3 days the larvae do not differ in sex. But the new queen will be fed royal jelly, not 3, but 5 days, after which the cell with her will be sealed.

The uterus will hatch from it on the 8th day. The drone is obtained from an unfertilized egg. He will be the larva of 7 days, and then will pass into the stage of the pupa.

Video: How bees are born

Artificial way

Although many believe that the queen of honey bees is the most important member of the colony, the bees themselves may decide to change it. Young, she lays eggs in a specific order in each cell.

But over time, they become smaller, and oviposition is disrupted. The birth of a new uterus is also necessary when the old died.

Did you know? Have you ever wondered where the honey bees get their knowledge from. It turns out that they are taught by older insects. They communicate with flapping wings, performing a special dance.

Over time, the space in the hive ends. A swarm, together with a mature queen, can leave the colony and establish a new one. And the other half will remain in the hive along with the new queen. This process is called swarming and is one of the ways the bee family reproduces.

Most often, swarming occurs closer to summer. After wintering, young insects appear from the cells. They are able to feed 4 times more larvae than those that hibernated in the hive.

If the daily bribe is small and the workers are left without work, then they begin to prepare for swarming.

Key features of the process:

  • a large number of drones;
  • detuning 10 or more mother liquors;
  • the uterus reduces oviposition;
  • the number of insects engaged in feeding is reduced;
  • the bees gather in a ball and swarm at the arrival board.

Beekeepers identified several methods of dividing the family by swarming:

  • transferring several frames with insects to another hive. This method is called layering propagation;
  • family division. In this case, with the main hive set another, as close to it in color and texture. They are equidistant from where the previous one was. In this case, the bees will be divided into 2 families automatically;
  • transfer of the uterus to a new hive is called a raid on the queen. The hive is set up with it in another place, and then the remaining insects begin to zealously feed new workers.

It will also be useful for you to learn how to extract honey from honeycombs without a honey extractor.

Division of families

If you have a strong colony and two identical hives, you can divide it into 2 families. Find 4 brood frames with eggs no older than 3 days in the old colony. Place them in a new hive, shaking off all the bees from the frames.

The frames are distributed in the center of the box. Be careful not to catch the old queen in a new box.

You will need in the new hive:

  • 2 frames of pollen;
  • 4 brood frames;
  • 2 frames of honey;
  • spare frame.

Place honey and pollen on the sides of the brood frames. In place of the missing frames set empty. In this hive, bees will grow a new queen. Set both hives at an equidistant distance from where the first one stood.

Leave them in this condition for 24 hours. During this time, the working bees will be divided approximately equally between them.

Important! Bees can collect nectar from any flowers and some parts of plants, including poisonous ones, so do not install hives in places with unknown honey plants.


The layering is the separation of the finished bee brood from the family and the creation of a new family on its basis. To do this, you will also need a strong, healthy hive.

Check out

How to quickly increase an apiary without compromising honey collection? In the hive for the winter, the main family with the nucleus (young family) may remain. Both families will be separated by a partition. In the spring, the nucleus is insulated, adding several frames of bee bread and honey. When the nest is completely filled with brood, it is relocated to a separate hive.

Layering can be formed:

  • in a separate hive;
  • in the same building, separated by a partition.

If you move it to a separate hive, you get a division of a large family into two. In this case, a new queen is either settled in a new hive, or the bees are given the opportunity to grow it. This method is used to increase the number of families.

The division of the hive by a partition is necessary to strengthen the main family. In this case, the uterus is left in the old hive, and a new uterus is added to the layers. The best time for breeding is early spring, a month before the main collection of nectar.

You will need to take the following steps:

  1. Make sure that the hive has enough brood frames. Ideal - 6 sealed frames or / and larvae.
  2. Purchase a second building. The best option is to purchase a mini hive with 5 frames.
  3. Order a new queen or leave the opportunity for bees to grow a new one.
  4. Install a new building where it is planned to create a new family.
  5. Remove 4 of 10 frames from the main hive and set aside.
  6. Begin the procedure in the afternoon, when the main part of the bees on departure. Fumigate the colony as usual.
  7. Find the frame with the old uterus and put it in a safe place.
  8. Remove 3 closed brood frames from the main hive. In this case, you need to shake off all the bees from each frame.
  9. Place these three brood and bee frames in the center of the new hive. An additional slot is left open, it will be needed to seat the new queen.
  10. Using two wire-frame nails, create a hanging bracket for a new cage with a uterus. Hang it between brood frames in the middle of the hive. Make sure you open the cork.
  11. Place a feeder at the top of the hive and fill it with sugar syrup.
  12. Return to the main hive. Place the frame with its queen back.
  13. Add three new base frames to replace the ones you deleted. Place them closer to the outside walls of the hive.
  14. Add a feeder to the hive and fill it with sugar syrup as well.

Now you have the main hive and layering in the new. But keep in mind that the formation of layering in this way weakens the bee family, so some beekeepers prefer to grow families from nuclei.

Studying the features of the development of insects, the beekeeper can plan and timely carry out work on the reproduction of bee colonies. A knowledge of the signs of swarming will help the beekeeper not to lose the swarm.

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