It has been a little over 4 weeks since the bees came to live with me. I have kept careful notes about what I was noticing, so it wasn’t terribly surprising when I opened the hive to see A LOT more bees than I expected!
All bees spend about 3.5 days as an egg. This is stage is quite hard for a novice beekeeper to spot – eggs look like specks of rice and are hard to see on a busy comb. Easier to see is the larval stage: 5.5 days for a worker and 6.5 days for a drone. The larva are easy to spot:
In this photo, the larva are all worker (female) bees who are raised in smaller cells than the drone brood. This photo also shows the bees “capping” the cells with wax, leaving the larva to go through the pupa state behind closed doors. Worker bees spend 11 days as pupa, bringing their total gestation to 20 days from when the queen laid her original fertilized egg.
Drone cells are larger:
Can you see the difference in size of the cells on the left compared to the smaller cells filled with honey on the right?
Drones will stay in the pupa stage for 14 days, bringing their total gestation to 24 days.
When I checked the hive on the weekend, I found this little lady emerging:
After they emerge, bees are easy to spot by the grey-ish hairs on the heads and their tightly tucked wings. They stumble around on the comb like they are a bit drunk — or stiff from being crapped up for so long!
And then a few days later, I spotted my first drones!
My drones were all hatched off the same comb. Done bees are SIGNIFICANTLY larger and much more blocky and shaped like a small bumble bee. Their eyes touch in the middle. There are two in the photo below:
My hive is much fuller with new bees and com now, and the new workers are spending a great deal of time trying to figure out who I am when I check on the hive. Though there is still a lot of worker brood yet to hatch, the combs are beginning to look a lot more empty. Bee food is taking over the combs: