Bees are social insects that live in communities called colonies. In a hive, there are between 40,000 and 60,000 worker bees and approximately 1,000 drones (males) living around a central figure: the queen, the mother of all.
The worker bees
The worker bee carries out several tasks during her brief existence (30 to 45 days) for the benefit of the colony. She spends the first half of her life performing tasks in the hive. Her first task is to clean the hive. Then she makes royal jelly to feed the queen and the larvae. Finally, she produces wax to make the honeycombs. In order to control the temperature in the hive, the fanning bees beat their wings frenetically and, to ensure safety, the guard bees check the identity of the bees that enter the hive. From the 21st day of her life until she dies, the bee can finally forage flowers.
In order to become a queen, a larva is only fed royal jelly during its development. It is this diet, and only this one, that will enable this bee to become a queen, the only fertile female in the colony. When a young queen must be fertilized, she sets out on a nuptial flight, followed by a cloud of drones. She will mate with the most vigorous ones (about a dozen) while flying until her spermatheca is sufficiently filled to produce several colonies. Once settled in, the queen lays eggs continuously (up to 2,000 eggs per day), for the rest of her life (1 to 4 years).
The drones are the only males in the colony. They are called drones because their bodies are larger than those of the worker bees and they have no stinger. There are not many drones in the hive and their main purpose is to fertilize the queen. Since they cannot collect nectar, they must be fed by the worker bees. Unfortunately for them, they die immediately after fertilization and the others are expelled from the hive when the cold weather returns.