Do Bees Lay Eggs? (Answered With Facts)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

It is a known fact that the life cycle of every insect begins with eggs. However, does this bring an answer to the question, do bees lay eggs? Let’s find out. 

Bees lay eggs and their eggs always end up being a member of the bee family – fertilized or not. The fertilized eggs will hatch into female worker bees, while unfertilized eggs will become drones or honey bee males. 

In bees, the queen needs to lay fertilized eggs to create worker bees, which help in providing for food, and also take care of the colony.

Only the Queen in the colony can lay eggs, and each colony contains only one queen. 

The queen will mate at an early age and collect more than 5 million sperm.

When the queen can no longer lay eggs, a new queen will become responsible for mating and laying honey bee eggs.

What do bees eggs look like ?

Do Bees Lay Eggs

The eggs of bees look like a grain of rice, but they are much smaller than rice.

They are said to be about half the size of a single grain of rice, measuring about 1mm to 1.5mm long. 

When the egg is laid, it stands upright in it’s cell and them falls to its side by it’s third day.

If fertilized after being laid, the eggs will become female workers or potential queens, depending on the cell that they are laid in. 

These eggs are laid by the honey bee queen, in a wax, hexagonal egg cell while potential queens are laid in special cells called, Queen cells.

However, if they don’t get fertilized, they will become male bees which are also called drones.

The queen can lay between 2000 to 3000 eggs in a day because it takes the queen a few seconds to lay an egg. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do bees have noses?

How does Queen Bee get pregnant?

The queen bee gets pregnant from mating with the male honey bee. 

Usually after mating, insects or animals get their eggs fertilized by their male counterparts, however, for bees, the mating process of bees is quite different from the normal mating process.

The process of mating for bees is known as the bee mating flight. During the flight, a virgin queen bee flies to a site where thousands of male honey bees would have been waiting.

The process allows the queen to mate with several male bees. 

When the queen flies in, a male bee will mount on her and insert his endophallus to ejaculate semen. 

After his ejaculation, he will pull himself away from the queen, and rip his endophallus from his body in the process. 

The endophallus remains attached to the newly fertilized queen. 

When the next male honey bee to mate with the queen arrives, he will remove the previous endophallus and attach his but eventually lose his own after ejaculation. 

These male honey bees die immediately after mating because their abdomen rips open when their endophallus is removed. 

However, in a situation when a male bee survives the mating flight, he gets ejected from his best because he has served his purpose by mating.

Now, after several matings during the mating flight, a queen stores up to 100 million sperm within her oviducts. 

Then the queen starts using the sperm at different times to fertilize eggs through out her lifetime. 

When a queen runs out of sperm in her lifetime, new generations of queens will go through the mating flight process, to produce their own colonies.

When laying the eggs, the queen can control the sex of the eggs. She does this by deciding if a particular egg gets fertilized or not. 

The unfertilized eggs can hatch to become drone honey bees, while the fertilized eggs will develop into female workers and queens. 

Female workers do not mate, but they can lay infertile eggs, which turn out to become male honey bees.

Where does a bee lay its eggs?

Honey bee queens lay their eggs in structural oval-shaped cells. 

These cells are stuck to the ceiling of the nest. The worker honey bees fill these cells with royal jelly to prevent hatched larvae from falling off. 

When the unfertilised eggs are hatched, they are fed with royal jelly for their first two days as they are soon-to-be workers.

While the hatched larva from the fertilized eggs are fed with royal jelly for their entire larval period. This is because they are soon-to-be queens. 

Can bees other than the queen lay eggs?

No, no other bee than the Queen can lay eggs. In every colony, there is just one egg-laying queen, who has the capacity to lay about 2000 eggs a day. 

However, the colony consists of thousands of workers 

In the colony, the egg-laying queen honey bees mate with the drones to lay eggs and establish a new colony. 

Do queen bees lay eggs all year?

Queen bees do not lay eggs all year round, however, they can lay between 2000 to 3000 eggs in a day. 

The virgin honey bee queen mates at an early age at her only mating flight.  

After attending her only mating flight, she reserves sperm in millions which allows her to fertilize millions of eggs in her lifetime.

The amount of eggs and pace at which a queen lays her eggs is greatly controlled by weather, availability of food and the habits of her subspecies of honey bee. 

How can you tell if a queen bee is laying eggs?

When the queen is about to lay her eggs, she moves around the comb, examining each cell closely.

When the Queen is done examining the cells, she lays her eggs in an organized pattern, placing each egg next to others within a cell, starting from the center of the cell frame. 

This is so workers can place honey, royal jelly and other foods for larvae on the outer edges.

The process of laying an egg takes the Queen honey bee only a few seconds, and a queen has the ability to lay up to 2,000 honey bee eggs in a day.

However, as the queen ages, she starts to lay fewer eggs, and in a less organized pattern.

Which bee lays eggs?

When it comes to laying of eggs, only the Queen can lay eggs in a colony. 

The egg laying queen has the ability to lay between 2000 to 3000 eggs in a day, but this ability is greatly affected by the weather and availability of food. 

The egg-laying queen is to make with several male bees and store sperm to fertilise eggs. 

Every egg-laying queen bee attends one mating flight and this is done at the early stages of the Queen’s life.


Yes, honey bees lay eggs. After the eggs are laid, they begin the key stages of their bee life cycle. 

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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