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What is the difference between regular bees and worker bees?

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Quick Answer

The main difference between "regular" honeybees, or drones, and worker bees is that a worker bee gathers nectar and produces royal jelly for the colony to eat and wax to build the honeycomb, while the drone's only job is to inseminate the colony's queen. Only a select few drones get a chance at breeding.

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Full Answer

Most of the work in the hive is done by worker bees. For the first three weeks of their lives, they are called "house bees." House bees are responsible for keeping the hive clean, feeding the growing brood of developing bees, building the honeycomb, packing nectar, water and honey into the comb, and taking care of the queen. They also act as guards, killing intruders and sick bees if necessary to protect the colony from disease. As worker bees age, they become "field bees." Field bees are small and light but strong. This makes them good at gathering nectar and water to bring back to the hive.

Drones are larger than worker bees, and they are seen as largely unnecessary to the colony except for the purpose of breeding with the queen. They must be fed by the worker bees, and they have no stingers to defend the colony. Because only a few drones are needed for reproduction, when food supplies are low, the worker bees often stop feeding the drones and push them out of the colony.

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