Knowledge about bee biology is key to successful beekeeping.
A bee colony has three types of bees: two female castes (a single queen and many workers), and a male bee – the drone.
Queens are specialized females, laying eggs to populate the colony and produce unifying chemicals to produce a cohesive unit of queen and workers that insures survival. Queens will often live 2 years, but are most productive in their first year.
Workers are the female caste lacking full development of their reproductive organs. Workers build and maintain the beeswax combs; feed and rear the young after the queen lays eggs; and care for the hive and the queen. Older workers leave the hive and forage flowers to collect nectar and pollen resources for the bees’ diet. This nectar is ripened by workers into honey (their energy source) and pollen (the dietary protein needed for growth and development of bees and colony population).