Queen, Drone, Worker; How to Identify Different Bees

Bees are fascinating creatures. Once you realize they aren’t out to sting you, beekeeping gets much more fun. All of my hives have windows on them so you can see the bees in action.

One thing you’ll notice when getting up close, is that some bees look drastically different than the others, mainly in their size.


The larger bees in the photo above are the drone bees. They can also be identified by their large eyes that are very close together. These bees are male, and responsible for establishing biodiversity in the hive. Their primary function is to mate with queens from other hives. Sounds like a really tough gig…

The smaller and more numerous bees are the female worker bees. They are the backbone of the hive. They do everything from collecting pollen for honey, to building hive combs, and assisting the queen in her daily activities.

Queen Bee highlighted

The Queen has a very large abdomen (rear end). She is responsible for laying eggs in the empty cells of the hive and for the overall well-being of the hive. There will often be several worker bees forming a halo around her as she moves throughout the hive. There is only one Queen per hive. In the event the queen dies, the hive can produce a new queen. I describe the process here.

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