Russian Bee Life Cycle

Russian Bee Life Cycle

A beekeeper should become very familiar with the Russian Bee Life Cycle. It is important to know all stages of development and then take that knowledge into the hive to identify the life cycle stages first hand. It is also useful to be able to identify the age of the worker bees from housekeeper to voyager. This skill will help when it is time to split the hive 

Russian Bee Life Cycle

Day 1-An egg is laid into the bottom of a cell

Day 3-Egg hatches

Day 4-7-Egg becomes a larvae – worker feeds the larvae

Day 8-The worker seals the cell (Varroa mites enter cell on day 8 just before sealing)

Day 9-16, 21, or 24-The larvae will spin a cocoon becoming a pupa

Day 16-Queen bee emerges

Day 21-Worker bee emerges

Day 24-Drone bee emerges

Worker Bee Schedule

Day 1-2 Cleans cell, keeps hive warm

Day 3-5 Feeds larvae

Day 6-11 Feeds other larvae

Day 12-17 Produces wax

Day 18-21 Guards the hive entrance

Day 22-35 Gathers nectar, pollen and propolis

Day 30 hive will die without a queen

Life Expectancy

Queens: Queens will live about 3 years. It  is highly recommended that a queen be replaced annually, in the fall.

Drones: Drones will die once mated or at the end of the season when the workers drag the drones from the hive to conserve the hives winter resources.

Workers:Spring workers will live approximately 42 days but Fall workers will live over 6 months. There is no difference between the Spring or Fall workers other than the amount of work expected from them. It gives significant meaning to the cliche “working yourself to death.” (Next Russian Bee Colony Defense)

Life Cycle Wheel

Here is a handy Russian Bee Life Cycle wheel to use while in the bee yard. Take it along with your inspection report to calculate the times that eggs, larvae, capped brood, mating, or laying should occur. Download, print, cut and attach the two wheels together.

Print Wheel 1

Print Wheel 2

Enjoy the project or order a laminated Life Cycle Wheel from Sweet Mountain Farm.

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”  -Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement speech, 2005