Worker honey bees are the largest population within a colony. Worker bees are entirely female, but they are unable to produce fertilized eggs. If there is no queen they do sometimes lay unfertilized eggs, which become male drones. Worker bees use their barbed stingers to defend the colony, but after attacking, the barbs attach to the victim’s skin, tearing the stinging bee’s abdomen, resulting in death.
Workers are essential members of honey bee colonies. They forage for pollen and nectar, tend to queens and drones, feed larvae, ventilate the hive, defend the nest and perform other tasks to preserve the survival of the colony. The average life span of worker bees is approximately six weeks.