Looking for Larvae

Larva Development

Larva Development

An important skill for beekeepers is checking bees have healthy larvae. I am often asked to clarify what to look for so given the rainy day, I have sketched up a larva in its development stages. The number of days is a little loose give a queen takes 5.5 days to complete this stage, while a worker takes 6 and a drone 6.5 days. This part of the process is fast and needs heaps of royal jelly, pollen and nectar to enable a larva to increase in size so quickly (over a 1000 times its original size), and the house bees are very busy in their feeding schedule topping up the food many 1000s of times during these days.

The royal jelly and other food can be seen covering the base of the cell. It must be white and glistening to indicate it is healthy. Any discolouration, dullness or smell raises concerns and needs checking out.

Also of importance is the temperature. Any reduction in temperature will delay development. The bees need to work hard to top up the feed, warm up the cells and check on all the kids after we have lifted a frame for inspection. So before you inspect your hive make sure it is a warm day with little breeze and be careful not to have a frame in the sun drying out the cells.

The less you mess, the stronger your hive. Bees are amazing architects and agriculturalists and do it better without us interfering.

Oh and PS!  Before you start... Larva is singular and Larvae plural, Pupa is singular and Pupae plural

Happy beeking!