How long do Honey Bees live? Life Span of Bees

Lee S. Rosen – How long do Honey Bees live? 

The life span of honey bees varies, depending on the role of an individual bee within the colony. Honey bees live in sophisticated, well organised societies. A honey bee colony could comprise between 50,000 and 60,000 bees, performing different roles in order to help ensure the smooth running and success of the colony. The role of a bee, as well as the time of year in which it was born (spring/summer or autumn), will also play a role for worker bees in the colony. Worker bees born in spring/summer have shorter, busier lives, whilst those born in autumn may live longer, but they must survive the harsher winter conditions to emerge from the hive the following spring.

All being well, a honey bee queen could live for 3 to 4 years, as long as she is free from disease. This is much longer than bumblebee queens or the solitary bee species.

All being well, a honey bee queen could live for 3 to 4 years, as long as she is free from disease. This is much longer than bumblebee queens or the solitary bee species.

Flying Honeybee

Workers:

Workers raised during the spring or summer months may live for 6 or 7 weeks. Their lives are especially busy, with lots of hungry larvae to feed, and honeycomb to be produced. This is when the colony is at its most productive, with workers busy collecting nectar and pollen for feeding the colony. Workers raised in the autumn have no brood to care for, since the queen stops producing eggs. These workers, together with the queen, comprise the remains of the colony for the year (part of the colony may have left in a swarm, in order to form a new colony elsewhere), and they must huddle together around the queen in order to keep warm during the winter, ready to emerge the following year to begin foraging again in the early spring. They may live 4 to 6 months.

Drones:

At the most, drones may live for up to 4 months, however, they may survive for just a few weeks. Note, that upon mating with the queen, drones die immediately.