The lifecycle of your bumble bee colony
You will receive a queen, 40-50 worker bees and eggs.
The queen will brood the eggs which will start to hatch after approximately 4 days and the workers will collect pollen to feed the larvae and will also collect nectar for the wax honey pots made by the queen as nectar stores. The workers are important because they nurture the rest of the colony as it develops and grows in size.
As the larvae grow the queen bee concentrates on laying another brood of eggs.
The queen then produces fertilised eggs which no longer become workers but become queen bees. She also lays unfertilised eggs which develop into males. These larvae have been fed more than the worker bees.
The male bumblebees leave the nest to find a mate, marking flowers and trees with their pheromones to attract queens.
Approximately one week later the queens emerge and mate with the males.
After 24 weeks the original colony comes to an end. The new queens that were produced will find sites to overwinter. The existing queen, her workers and any males die.
The bumble bee queen builds up her fat reserves by feeding on nectar from flowers and she hibernates underground. She needs to find enough nectar to build up her weight sufficiently to survive hibernation.
During hibernation if the queen's body temperature dips too low her body produces a form off antifreeze that prevents her body from freezing.
In the spring the queen bumble bee uses the heat from the sun to provide the energy needed to fly off. She needs to find nectar-rich spring flowers quickly because she hasn’t fed over the winter and she needs to find a suitable nesting site.
Having mated the previous summer the queen bee prepares for laying her first eggs about 2 weeks after coming out of hibernation. The queen collects pollen to feed on which stimulates her ovaries to begin laying.
The queen also forms some pollen into a ball and lays the eggs on this ball. The queen uses her own wax to make a honeypot which is used for storing nectar. This pollen and nectar store enables the bees to survive for a few days without leaving the nest in case of poor weather.
The queen bee broods the eggs and the whole process begins again….
Learn more about our Beepol lodge & Colony in our FAQ section