Bee Development Stages – From an Egg to an Insect

Bee Development Stages.

The time taken for an Egg to become either a Queen, Drone or Worker are all different, in Bee Development Stages we will explain those differences and what we can learn from them.

0Egg LaidEgg LaidEgg Laid
5Diet ChangesDiet Changes
8Cell Sealed
9Cell Sealed
10Cell Sealed
115th Moult (Prepupa)
135th Moult (Prepupa)
145th Moult (Prepupa)
15Final Moult
20MatureFinal Moult
23Final Moult
41Too Old to MateForaging Begins

Up to Day 3 all the larvae are fed on Royal Jelly which is secreted from the hypopharyngeal glands. The diets of the Worker and the Drone are then changed to brood food, which contains components derived from Pollen and a higher percentage of hypopharyngeal secretions.

Capped Worker Brood
Capped Worker Brood

Once the larvae has reached the 5th Moult it changes to a prepupa and then the metamorphosis into the adult bee starts.

The days denoted thus ** in the above table are the limits during which the queen can take her mating flight.

Differences between the Cells.

Worker and Drone Cells.

Capped Drone Brood
Capped Drone Brood

Workers, Drones and Queens all develop in different cells. Worker and Drone eggs are deposited into the hexagonal cells of the comb, the vast majority of these are Worker cells. When the larvae is due to pupate then cell is then sealed with a covering of flat or slightly domed wax.

The Drones, being larger require bigger cells to develop in, these cells are often found around the edges of the comb. When these are capped with wax it will have a domed cap to allow for the size diffence, this is easily seen when compared to a Worker Cell.

Queen Cells.

Queen Cells are completely different and hang down from the face of the comb, looking a little like an Acorn. In the springtime workers begin to build queen cell cups, this is perfectly normal and does not show that a colony is getting ready to swarm. If the sides of the cup begin to be elongated and the queen lays an egg in the cell it will then be sealed to allow the larvae to pupate. Eventually the adult queen will chew the end of the cell and emerge into the Colony.

Queen Cell
Queen Cups and Sealed Queen Cell

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Bee Development Stages - From an Egg to an Insect




  1. This is such an interesting read! Finding out a little bit more about these very useful and interesting insects has always been something I wanted to look into but never actually got round to doing it. So I’m definitely glad I stumbled upon your site.

    1. Thanks Joe

      I will be adding and expanding the site as time progresses, hopefully there will be very basic information for anyone thinking of beekeeping as a hobby, but I will be going more into depth as the site grows

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