The sisters in the hive are without a doubt the formidable force that keeps everything running like a well oiled machine.
Read on to find out more about the tasks they undertake and the division of labour ...
It takes 21 days from an egg being laid by the queen for a new worker to emerge from her cell. During the 6 days she is a larvae, she will be fed thousands of times by her sisters.
Unlike the boys, the girls work tirelessly for the good of the colony and will sacrifice their lives along the way.
During the summer months, they work themselves to death and only live for 6 weeks.
From the moment a new girl is born, she begins to work immediatley. Her first job is to clean out the cell she just emerged from. She will do this type of housework for the first 3 days of her life, keeping the hive clean and tidy.
The Division of Labour
Within the hive, there is usually a division of labour that is dependant on the age of each worker.
Between Days 0 - 6
Workers will perform cell cleaning and general house keeping tasks keeping the hive free from debris.
Between Days 3 - 9
Glands in the bees head develop enabling them to produce royal jelly. Workers now able to feed the brood
Between Days 3 - 15
With the ability to produce brood food, workers can become part of the queens entourage caring for her
Between Days 6 - 18
Glands in the bees head change function for adding Invertase to nectar - making and processing honey
Between Days 12 - 20
Wax glands on the underside now deveolped and bees able to produce wax for comb building and repair
Between Days 15 - 25
Flight muscles in the thorax now fully developed and wings can be used to help with hive ventilation
Between Days 18 - 35
Sting mechanism now fully developed and workers able to undertake guard duties at the hive entrance
Between Days 21 - Death
Workers now able to forage and collect pollen, nectar and water as required by the needs of the colony