Bee Castes

1 December 2020

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I hope to answer questions about beekeeping as the year passes by. One fact that is usually a surprise to many is that the bees come in males and females (ok, that bit maybe not be that surprising). We all have heard of a queen bee (unless your from Epsilon 5 or 2 years old) but not everyone realises everyone else in the colony is her daughter or son. In the next few newsletters I will go into each one in a bit more detail, but I thought I would start with an overview.

The queen is the mother of all bees, and all other bees are her children. She regulates the hive, ensures good hive maintenance whilst all those doing that maintenance are her daughters. Yep, that’s right, her daughters. The females, also called workers for good reason, do pretty much everything else. Diversity is sadly non existent with bees.

The males on the other hand are pretty useless. They are there only to eat and breed, they can’t even sting you. But it’s not all rosy for those thinking what a great life – find out more in the next few issues.

As a beekeeper we can tell who they are from sight. The picture here shows what we see, and they differentiate mainly by size. I will elaborate more on each one in coming issues, but for today, have a look at their size difference. The queen is the largest, followed by the drones (yes the males are really called that as they don’t really do anything else) and the smaller ones are the workers.

So, the next time you see a bee in the spring, try to identify them!


Bee Castes