Egg to Bee

Not all honey bee eggs are created equal.  Did you know that the length of time it takes a bee to hatch is dependent on whether it is a worker, drone or a queen?

A queen will hatch in 16 days, a worker in 21 and a drone in 24 days.

Egg life 2

Honey bee eggs are very tiny and look like tiny grains of rice.  At only 1mm in length, they are very difficult to see. The best way to see the eggs during an inspection is to lift the frame up and have the sun shine over your shoulder and into the cells.


After 3 days in the egg stage the egg will hatch into a larva.  The pictures below show larva at different ages.


Once the larva reach the right stage, as determined by the nurse bees, the larva will be capped. Below the nurse bees have begun to cap the larva as noted by the rough edges on the cell.

Larvae being capped

In the picture below, the flat capped brood are worker bees and the bullet shaped cells are drones.  Drone cells are normally found along the edge of the  brood pattern.  The picture on the right is a capped queen cell. The bees build a nice big cell for the queen to fit in.

CappedQueen cell

These pupa shown below are drones which were accidentally ripped out of their cells during a hive inspection.  The bees had created burr comb between the upper and lower box, and when frames were removed the cells were ripped apart.


Once the bees are ready to be hatched, they will eat their way out of the cell. Here are two bees being hatched, one is almost all the way out of its cell, while the other is still deep in its cell, but has removed most of the cap that covers it.


Being able to observe bees in all states of development is a wonderful thing.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places.



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