How long do bees live
The bee species is broken into three caste systems. The smallest member of the caste system is the worker bee and it has the majority numbers in the colony. The queen is one and the rest of the hive is made of the male drone who live to mate.
The bee life expectancy in active season
The honey bee is a social creature and because they all look so similar with the exception of the queen, it can be difficult to notice when one dies off. Male drones die off first and have the shortest life expectancy. It takes about 24 days for the male drone to go from being an egg to becoming an adult. It will typically live for a total 55 days.
The worker bees live a busy life for between 120 to 150 days. Typically during their busy season they will live for only about five to six weeks since they tend to end up as the next meal for predators. They also die of when they sting which considerably shortens their life span.
The queen bee has the longest life span of all the bees in the colony. They can live for two to three years and in that duration they will lay as many as 1000 to 6000 eggs a day. She has a stinger as well which she uses mostly to defend herself against other members of her caste only. She will also sting intruders if the colony is breached.
The bee life expectancy in overwintering season
During this season the male can live up to 90 days and the female worker bees are able to go for even four or five months. This is because they are sequestered and away from potential harm. Plus their typical predators are also hibernating and not hunting them down. The queen bee can add another year to its life because of the over wintering season.
Worker bees are likely to work themselves to death. In fact that is the leading cause of their death. Male drones naturally die off after mating because their purpose is done. The queen bee is actually killed off by the worker bees in the colony when a new queen emerges. They kill her by balling her which is the act of overcrowding her until she becomes overheated and dies from the heat.
Although the death of the old queen can cause an upset in the colony the bees quickly organize themselves around a new queen and the colony is returned to order.