The queen is longer than either the drones or workers. During the laying season, she lays from one to two thousand eggs a day, putting the eggs in different cells for workers, drones and queens.
She lives longer than other bees, generally from three to five years. She forms the center of the swarm, so that when a swarm divides, each part secures a queen and thus start new colonies. So called "bee charmers" take advantage of this fact, and by securing the queen in a gauze bag make the swarm light where they wish. The workers form about nine-tenths of the swarm, and do all the work. They gather the honey, bee-glue and pollen, which they carry to the hive in little sacs and buckets attached to them; they make the comb, feed the young and clean the hives.
They live only a few months and are constantly renewed from the eggs of the queen bee, so that a swarm that has lost its queen, soon dwindles and dies out. The drones are the only males, and are destroyed by the workers soon after the honey season. The breeding begins early in the spring. After the laying of the eggs, it takes about fourteen days to make a queen., twenty five for a drone. The long, slender egg is fastened by one end to the bottom of the cell. It first becomes a maggot with two white eyes, a mouth like a caterpillar and ten holes for breathing on the sides. The workers feed it for a week, when it is covered with wax and becomes a pupa. ten days later, it breaks its cover, creeps out, dries its wings, and goes o work as a member of the community.
The migration or swarming of the bees usually happens when the hive becomes too crowded. The first swarm, led by the old queen, usually starts out in June, leaving a new queen in the new hive. A second and third swarming sometimes takes place. An interesting thing which happens before the second and third swarms start out, is called the "piping of the queens." The new queen seems to be jealous of all rivals and tries to sting to death all the young queens which the workers are feeding. When a guard protects them, the reigning queen is supposed to utter this complaining or piping note; a lower sharper note which follows is though to be answering the tone of defiance from the young queen who will reign over the next swarm. The swarm comes out numbering thousands, and soon lights, usually on the limb of a tree, hanging like a bag, from which it may be taken and put into a hive. the first hives used by bees were the hollow trunks of trees, but now boxes are provided for the convenience in getting at the honey. Some hives can be opened so as to show the condition of the swarm and the progress of the work at any time. In building the comb, the workers begin at the top of the hive and build downwards, some spaces being left between the rows of cells for passage. Some of the cells are for honey and others for eggs. The cells are six sided, a shape that is found to give the most room with the least material and smallest space. The wax for the cell come from a pouch in the back part of the body of the worker, in which it grows, little by little, until it comes out in little scales which are gathered by the bees. The pollen and sweet juices of flowers furnish the food of bees. They enter a flower, and come out covered with pollen, which they carry to the hive and unload. When this pollen is kneaded into a paste it is called bee-bread. The drones have no stings, but the queens and the workers each have one in the back part of the body. The sting is a sheath, containing two darts with sharp points and ragged edges, like saw-teeth. Along this sheath the poison from a small bag within flows into the wound. Animals and men have sometimes been killed by an attack of a swarm of bees.
The Students Cyclopedia: 1897
The Bee Hive