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Honey bees - The life of a worker bee

Newly emerged honey bees, or nurse bees

Newly emerged adult honey bees are often called nurse bees.

In their first week of life their focus is on tending the developing brood, and capping off older larvae as they enter pupation.

worker bees caring for the queen bees needs

In their second week of life they shift their duties toward attending to the queen's needs and patrolling the hive for any abnormalities, such as genetically abnormal eggs or damaged or dead brood. 

worker bees on guard duty

Day 18 and some of the worker bees get to take on the job of guards, protecting the entrance of the hive from intruders, and they are responsible for environmental regulation, specifically with regard to temperature.

worker bees, packing honey and pollen into our bee frames

From two to three weeks of age worker bees receive and process food, taking water out of nectar to make it into honey, adding enzymes to pollen, enabling beneficial microorganisms to aid in storing it as bee bread.

foraging for nectar and pollen

At age 23 days the worker bee goes out on their first foraging trip, to collect nectar, pollen and water to supply the colony with its daily needs. 

worker bees

The average worker bee lives for a little more than 6 weeks during an active summer season when flowers are abundant and there is work to be done, but they can live up to 5 times longer in the winter when the hive is dormant.

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