The Summer's Gold Honey Company's Workforce

Summer’s Gold Honey Company has a workforce made up of some of the smallest all female workers in the world.  All of the worker bees in a bee hive are female, right up to the top bee herself, the Queen Bee. The Queen Bee normally only mates once in her life and then lays millions of eggs.  She can lay up to 2000 eggs a day depending on weather, food and her subspecies of honey bee.  The Queen Bee lays fertilized eggs in smaller cells than she lays unfertilized eggs.  The smaller fertilized eggs become the female worker bees, where as, the large unfertilized eggs become the male drones.  The Queen Bee has a pheromone scent that helps the Queen Bee control the worker bees in her colony.

The Worker Bee makes only an average 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime.  She may visit anywhere from 50 to 100 flowers to get nectar to make into honey during a collection trip.  She can travel nine and a half kilometres and 24 kilometres an hour. A Worker Bees changes jobs as she gets older.  The first 11 days she will be a Nurse Bee taking care and feeding the larvae.  Some bees become Queen Attendants for the time they are from 7 - 12 days old.  The Queen Attendants feed and groom the Queen.  They also spread Queen Mandibular Pheromone (QMP) around the hive to let the other bees know the hive has a viable Queen.  Worker Bees from the age of 12 – 17 days old will be a Wax Bee.  She now is building and repairing cells with wax that she exudes from her abdomen.  She also stores the nectar and pollen brought by other bees.  There are actually several different jobs in a hive including; Honey Sealing, Drone Feeding, Pollen Packing, Propolizing, Mortuary Bees, Fanning Bees, Water Carriers, Guard Bees.  The Foraging Bee travel 8 kilometres to source nectar, pollen and propolis from when they are 22 – 42 days old.   The Worker Bee lives for about six weeks except in the winter.

In the winter the Worker Bee may live longer than 6 months. Winter Bees are from larvae that is fed an extra lean diet deficient in protein, which is a result of pollen become scarce due to lack of flowers.  The Winter Bee is shaped different from other Bees, with enlarged fat bodies found on the underside of the bee. The fat bodies produce vitellogenin which supplements or replaces pollen.  Winter Bees spend the winter taking care of the Queen Bee and spring brood, as well as cleaning the hive.

The Male Drone Bee’s only job is to mate with the Queen Bee.  Several Drones will mate with one Queen.  After mating the Drone dies having completed his role.  Drones are larger than Worker Bees but smaller than the Queen.  His eyes are also twice as big as the Queen and Worker Bees. The Drone has no stinger.  At the peak of summer, a colony may have as many as 200 Drones.  The Worker Bees eject the Drones in late Autumn.  There will not be any Drones until a new brood are produced in the Spring.  Only the female Bees live during the Winter. 

Honey Bees are hard workers and we at Summer’s Gold Honey Company appreciate all their hard work.  They produce the delicious honey we pack for our valued customers.