A colony of bees may have 40 to 50,000 of individuals. They belong to three castes.
(a) Queen (b) Drone (c) Worker.
The queen lays fertilized and unfertilized eggs. From unfertilized eggs male bees emerge which are known as Drones, where as from the fertilized eggs the worker bees are produced. The workers when feed on Royal Jelly, develop in to queen.
They are fertile female with developed ovary. Always one queen remains present in one hive. She is guided by a number of attendances. It is 15 to 20 mm in length with short legs and wings. The queen gets fertilize only in her life span, which is sufficient to fertilize the eggs at the time of lying.
The queen lays fertilized or unfertilized eggs according to her willing. Queen lays about 1500 to 2000 eggs in a day. The total weight of 100 eggs is equal to her body weight. In whole life span queen lays about 15, 00,000 eggs. When the queen in a colony starts feeding on queen’s diet i.e. riyal jelly and develops into a new queen and is provided with the facily of real queen. At the same time the old queen may be driven out, but sometimes some workers object that as to why the mother of the colony be driven out. So ultimately they also come out with the mother.
The workers are the smallest of the three castes but they function as the main spring of the complicated machinery like honey bee colony. The workers are produced from fertile eggs. It takes 21 days in the development of the eggs and the life span is about 6 weeks. The indoor and outdoor duties are done by workers.
During outdoor duties they collect nector, pollen etc. The indoor duty includes attending the queen, builders (produced waxes for formation of new hive), repairs (repairing the comb), and cleaners (to remove impurities and dead bodies and fanners (performing the fanning in the hive by wings) the guard bee always watches at the gateway. It is said that upto half of the life period workers perform indoor duties and later on become engaged in outdoor duties.
The drone is the male member of the honey bee colony, which fertilizers the queen. They take 24 days to develop from egg to the adult stage. The sting and the wax glands are absent but in the males the reproductive organs are well developed. They are reared from an unfertile egg in large drone cell. Drone are totally dependent as the workers and have been seen begging for honey from the workers. The sole duty if the drone is to fertilize the virgin queen.