North Bucks Beekeepers' Association -

Bee lifecycle

Bees are insects and so have four stages of life. They are:

  • Egg. The queen lays eggs and these hatch in a few days
  • Larva. Out of the eggs emerge worm-like larvae. They do little but eat.
  • Pupa. Having eaten, the larvae wrap themseves up and undergo metamorphosis.
  • Adult. The bee that we all know and love hatches from the coccoon. Depending on how it was treated in the previous stages, it may be a drone, worker or queen.
EggLarvaPupa Adults

The below table shows typical stages, measured in days since the egg is laid.

Stage Worker Queen Drone
Hatching of Egg 3 3 3
First larval moult 3.5 3.5 4
Second larval moult 4.5 4.5 5
Third larval moult 5.5 5.5 6
Fourth larval moult 6.5 6.5 7
Sealing of cell 8 to 9 9 12
Spinning cocoon 10 9 12
Fifth larval moult to pupa 11 10 14
Emergence from cell 21 16 24
Ready to mate - 20 37
Life Expectancy 28 to 35 days, Autumn born bees often live through the winter 2-3 years Culled by females at end of summer.