Bees are born twice. How on earth do they manage that? Very simple really.
It has been suspected by scientists that bees and flowering plants both evolved around 100 million years ago in the middle of the Cretaceous period. Before this period, plants reproduced the way modern conifers do by releasing seeds and pollen using cones and relied on the wind to facilitate the contact of the pollen and seeds for fertilization. During the Cretaceous period, some plants started to reproduce using flowers. These plants needed the help of insects to physically move pollen from the plant’s anthers, or their male structures, to their stigmas, or female structures.
If you have been outside, then you most likely have witnessed this process in action. However, what goes unseen is the amazing process of how bees are born into this mysterious world.
First, the queen lays an egg at the bottom of a honeycomb cell. After three days, the egg hatches and the tiniest larva is born. This would mark the bee’s first birth. The larva is seemingly small, but nurse bees will come along several times throughout the day and add royal jelly to the bottom of their honeycomb cell. Royal jelly is a white, pudding-like food that makes the larva grow very big really quickly.
In such a short period of time the white larva will get chubby and the nurse bees will start to feed it honey and pollen. The larva tends to curl up at the bottom of their honeycomb cells but they get big so fast that there’s never much room to grow.
Around the 9th-day mark, the larva will know it’s time for a big change, a metamorphosis if you will. As soon as the bees put a cap on the larva’s cell, the larva will spin into a cocoon. After it completes the cocoon, it will pupate, or undergo a transformation.
Roughly twenty-one days after being born the first time, the pupae bee will be born the second time when it chews the cap off its cell and hatches as a baby bee. The baby bee will have a meal of honey, and then it will be time to join the rest of the hive in working and maintaining the hive. If lucky, the bee will live for a month helping take care of the queen and work outside the hive gathering. In her life, she will produce about 1/12th a teaspoon of honey. Not much considering the amounts of honey the world consumes.