As all beekeepers know during the summer months worker bees live a productive, but very short life. Estimates vary, but in general they live for about 6 weeks. Although worker bees hatched at the end of the season could live through the winter. The Queen can live for up to 4 years. One beekeeping writer had pointed out that queen bees, unlike many other living things, have it both way: a long life and sexual reproduction. For the poor old worker bees we can say that they literally work themselves to death in the summer, which is a condition many of us can identify with. Many of us know what happen to the even less fortunate male drone bees.
Throughout the season I have seen few bodies of bees laying in my garden. From time to time, I have seen a few clawing aimlessly on the grass seemingly unable to fly. It is a pitiful sight. Of course I am concern that this may be something other then the end of its natural life cycle. There is always the fear that they may be affected by some unknown illness. If any reader of this blog have any information concerning this I would be grateful if you could drop me a line. Knowing what goes into producing a jar of honey ( about 20,000 bee miles) only make me more appreciative of these insects.