How long do bees live?
Bees are well-known flying insects, members of the Apoidea family. They share many characteristics with ants and wasps, but they have a unique role in the process of pollination making them very important for the eco-system. According to official statistics, there are more than 20.000 species of bees which belong to nine different families. Bees are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica. They are usually found in areas covered with flowering plants.
Amazing facts about bees
Most bees live in specially designed colonies separated into three categories of bees – the queen bee, the drone, and the worker bee. Every bee knows its role and makes sure that the colony is working smoothly.
Due to the fact that humans get honey from different species of bees, a few millennia ago, people have decided to start with beekeeping. There is evidence that beekeeping was an important part of agriculture in Ancient Egypt. In addition, to honey, bees (honey bees) provide propolis, royal jelly, and beeswax.
Those wondering about the lifespan of bees should know that their longevity depends on two things – the role they have in their colony and their species.
Generally speaking, the queen bee lives longer than any other type of bee. In some cases, they live up to 20 times more than the worker bees. Even though worker bees live relatively short lives, the drones live for an even shorter period of time. The reason is simple – they usually get killed by the queen bee right after mating.
As we already mentioned, different species of bees have a different lifespan, so it is better to provide information about the most popular species. First of all, there are honey bees. These bees make some of the most incredible colonies which can host up to 60.000 bees. The queen honey bee usually lives between 3 and 4 years. Worker honey bees live between 2 and 6 months. In this case, it depends on when they are born (those born in autumn live longer). The drones live between one and four months and their lives depend on the time of mating.
The lifespan of other bees like bumblebees and solitary bees is usually shorter. As we already said, some bees are kept by humans (beekeeping), but this doesn’t mean that they live in captivity. The beekeeper only supports their natural activities. However, there is one thing that makes bees raised in this way safer – the fact that they are placed in special boxes and protected from different predators. Yet, it is not unusual for bears to break in, cause damage and kill bees.
Like most living beings, bees can develop certain diseases. These diseases can affect their lifespan too. In addition, pollution caused by humans can affect their health too making them die faster. It is also worth mentioning that bees have natural enemies. A good example of a mammal that eats bees is the badger. The bear eats honey but doesn’t eat bees. In addition, many birds eat bees and there are some species of spiders, flies, and wasps that kill and eat bees.