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What is Bee Brood? – [How To Identify Them]





All About Brood Bees

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You might be wondering about so many thousand of bees inside a beehive. The bee broods that will handle the future colony are among the most essential portions of your beehive.

Bee Brood is the combination of the 3 stages (Egg, Larvae, and Pupa) through which a bee begins its life.


I know it is really difficult for you to identify bee broods. So, you are here to gather knowledge about what bee brood is. And how to identify them.
You are in the right place. In this post, I will walk through from deploying eggs to the worker cell to the development of a child bee. Also, I will discuss how you can differentiate broods from honey and so many things.

So, in this post you will get the following key features:



What Are Brood Bees?

As I have already told you the beginning phase of the life of bees is called brood bees. Egg, Larvae, And Pupa are the most important three stages of the life of a bee. These three stages are together known as bee brood. The Queen Bee lays eggs on each of the worker bees from where the brood phases are started.
Don’t worry I am going to discuss with you all these three stages of Bee brood.


Why Brood Bees Important For The Bee Colony?

As the life cycle of bees is very small around 40-50 days. That’s why to keep their colony alive they go for fast reproduction. So, that future generations can take responsibility for the colony. The worker bees are restless members of the colony who works from birth till death. So, when they are gone there must be somebody who can take responsibility for the colony. That’s why the queen bee always lays eggs in every drone bee’s cell. That’s why brood bees are the most important part of the bee colony. 

You should also have proper knowledge of how many brood boxes should a hive have.



Stages To Grow Bee Brood:

As I already told you that Bee Brood goes through three stages:

1) Eggs
2) Larvae
3) Pupa

In these 3 stages, the queen bee only lays eggs in the worker bee’s cell. But all other developments for the brood bee are taken by the worker bees. Usually, the bee brood requires a total of 16 to 24 days to be an adult bee. Queen bees require 16 to 18 days, worker bees require 21 days and drone bees require up to 24 days to become adults. Now let’s learn the important 3 stages of brood bees.




At first, the queen bee visits all of the worker bees sell and lays eggs in every cell. This is the beginning of the brood bees. But not all of them can grow as bees.

Because the worker bees select the suitable hatching eggs and remove others. Because the queen bee lays two types of eggs.

Fertilized and not fertilized. The worker bees only kept fertilized eggs and remove all of the unfertilized eggs from the colony.

Eggs are very small in size in the range of mm (around 1 mm). So, it is almost impossible for us to notice the eggs on a beehive or bee colony. This stage remains for up to 72 hours or 3 days.




This is the second but most important stage of bee brood. After the hatching of eggs, it becomes larvae. At this stage, it can’t move from its cell. Because larvae are tiny stingless, legless, and eyeless. They can do nothing instead of eating at this stage. All of the bee larvae are provided “Royal Jelly” by the worker bees just after the egg hatches. At this stage worker bees, drone bees, and queen bee got selected.


Brood Bee Larvae stage
Brood Bee Larvae stage


The nursing of larvae is done by worker bees. They visit each of the larvae several times and provide food to them. They take care of each larva very carefully so that its development isn’t interrupted by any means. The nursing bees provide a white substance as nutrients at each larvae-containing cell for the development of the larvae. This is white milky substance is called “Milk Brood” by the beekeepers. The queen bee still profits with only Royal Jelly as their food before the Pupa stage.

In this stage larvae doubles, their size up to 1500 times from their original size by the 5 stages of metamorphosis development methods. The larva stage lasts up to 6 days.



Various Bee Brood Diseases:

In the larva stage, there is a high chance of getting attacked by various viruses and bacteria and even the larva can die. This is why the larva stage is very crucial for brood bees.

If you are a beekeeper you must be careful about your larva bee in this stage. You can identify your sick larvae bee from the colony and remove them to protect other larvae. Because if a larva is attacked by contagious diseases it may spread that disease to other larva bees. You can identify sick bees by their color. Usually, a sick larva will look brown or near to black spotted.
Some of the dangerous diseases of brood bees are American Foulbrood, European Foulbrood, Acarapisosis, etc.



Pupa or Capped Stages:

It is the last stage of the 3 stages of bee brood. You can also say that it is the premature stage to become a brood bee to an adult bee.

In this stage, the brood bee remains in its own cell and started to become old. The brood didn’t eat anything at this stage. But it gains physical parts like antennae, wings, legs, and many other parts as a mature bee.

This stage is also known as a Capped stage. Because on this stage bees are classified into different types depending on their role in the colony.



Brood Bee Pupae stage
Capped Bees (Pupa) and Larvae


In this stage, more worst damage can be done throughout the colony. Pupa bees can be attacked by several types of damage at this stage. Among some of the most dangerous diseases, Parasitic Mite Syndrome is the worst disease that damages plenty of colonies every year. So, as a beekeeper, you must be aware and protect your bees from such diseases. The Pupae stage takes 8 to 14 days for different types of brood bees.

However, in the capped stage bees are classified into 3 types by their role in the colony.



1) Worker Bees:

Worker bees are the smallest group of bees in a colony. They eat brood milk in the larvae stage and when they completed their pupae stage they started their life as worker bees. They take the smallest cell in the beehive for their living.



2) Drone Bees:

They are medium among the 3 types of capped bees. So, they require typically larger cells compared to worker bees. They have a small role in the bee colony. Usually, they require for a particular season on the colony and don’t have any need for the rest of the year.


3) Queen Bee:

This is a special bee so special care is taken by the nursing bee. Because this bee will be the future leader of the colony. That’s why this bee is always taken care of with high security by the worker bees. First of all few larger female brood bees are detached from the rest of the bees. And they are placed on some of the big queen cells. One of these types of large female bees is made the future queen of the colony. During its whole brood life, it used to eat only Royal Jelly which is rich protein food. While other bees are fed with brood milk and various combination of nectar and pollen juice.



What Does A Brood Bee Look Like (How You Can Identify A Bee Brood)?

Well, you can identify a bee brood if you look deep into the colony. As I discussed above you can’t see the egg stage of a bee brood. But you will see plenty of honey on the top of your beehive. Usually, inside that honey-containing cells, the queen bee lays eggs.

But if you took a closer look into your colony you can identify larvae and pupae stages of brood bees. Also, you can see the above larvae and pupae images for better understanding.

You can see a white small insect look like a leech without having any stings, legs, or other body parts. These are called larvae brood.
In the pupae stage, you can easily identify them by noticing bees having tiny legs may be the sting or any other body parts aren’t developed well. So, in this way, you can easily identify a bee brood. You can read this Wikipedia post beside this post too about brood bees.



Difference Between Brood And Honey?

• First of all, the brood cell is darker than the honey-capped cell.
• Also, a honey cell is heavier than a brood cell.
• If you look at a brood cell you will see a noticeable thing that will tell you that there is something inside that cell. While a cell containing only honey will look natural as it contains only honey inside that cell.



Can You Harvest Brood Honey?

First of all, it depends on your purpose. Are you looking for reuse of brood honey? Or do you want to claim your brood honey from the bee colony that doesn’t have any brood bees?
If the brood honey cells have lost all of the brood bees mean the brood bees have died. Then you can claim all of the honey for selling or making recipes with honey. But it will be risky for you if you want to reuse this brood honey for another reproduction of brood bees. Because your previous brood bees may have died from any diseases and the virus or bacteria that causes that disease is still on those brood honey. So, if you use that brood honey for another reproduction of brood bees. There is a high chance of getting infected again. And all of your bee broods may have died again.

But if your beehive contains a sufficient amount of brood honey even after all the brood bees have become adult bees. Then you can claim your honey and use them for another reproduction or harvesting purpose.


How To Analyze Brood Patterns (Is It Really Important?):

Brood pattern is such an important part of the bee colony. If you are a beekeeper you must be well-skilled and have a good ability to analyze the brood patterns of a beehive.

Look at your brood patterns very carefully and takes the necessary steps.

If you see so many dead bees around the beehives or if you notice some of the bees are missing from their cell, maybe they are attacked by any type of disease. If so, then don’t waste any more time and take proper steps to protect your colony from disease.

Are there only large and small bees? No middle-size or noticeable medium-sized bees aren’t there? Then might be your colony doesn’t have any drone bees. Which of course a matter of worry.

Also, take a deep look at each colony. Can you find a relatively large capped bee there? If No, then definitely your colony doesn’t have any queen bees. Which is of course a big matter of worry. Because without any queen bee, the future of the colony is uncertain.


By reading the brood pattern you can also say whether your bees are preparing to swarm away or not. There are plenty of other ways to learn and analyze brood patterns. By analyzing your blood pattern a beekeeper can say the entire condition of the colony. If the colony needs his help or not.



Brood bees are the future generation of the colony. So, as a beekeeper, you must gather proper knowledge about identifying your brood bees and analyzing the brood pattern and if your colony needs your help you must run after it. Because, if you want to be successful in beekeeping you must take proper care of your bees from the brood stages. 

If it is winter and you need a guide on making a beehive moisture board for your beehive then you can read this post.

Learning about bees will never end. So, keep learning and give more attention to making a healthy and safe colony for each of your brood bees. If you want to learn about different types of bees and some interesting facts about bees don’t forget to check this post.


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