How Much Does a Bee Weigh? [BEE FACTS]

Grampas Honey is supported by its readers. If you buy something with our links, we may earn a commission.

Bees will only take up a tiny amount of space. Each of them is under 20 mm. Their size and weight make them perfectly suited to fly in rough weather conditions. But how much does a bee weigh?

How much the bee will weigh depends on its role within the hive. Worker bees will weigh 0.11 grams. A drone bee will weigh around 0.2 grams. The queen bee will weigh between 0.18 to 0.2 grams.

The weight of a bee will be able to give you a lot of information about it. It can tell you its role within the hive. Keep reading to learn more about the weight and sizes of bees and beekeepers.

How Big is a Bee?

The size, shape, and weight of the bee will depend on a few factors. For example, it will depend on their role within the hive. Queen bees will be larger than the workers. It will also depend on the species of the bee.

Weight of a Bee

Let’s start by talking more about how much the bee will weigh. This will vary a lot, depending on the type of role they play within the hive. Here are some generalities:

  • Worker bees. These are the most common type of bees and form the backbone of the hive. It will be their role to gather the nectar, build the cones, and care for the queen. This means that they will often need to be lighter. They will weigh around 0.11 grams.
  • Drone. These are male bees. It will be their role to mate with the queen, so she can make fertilized eggs. Because of this, they will need to be a little stronger. Often, they are double the weight of a typical worker bee, clocking in at 0.2 grams.
  • Queen. There are three sizes of queen bee. These are; light, medium, and heavy. A light queen bee will weigh around 0.185 grams. A medium will weigh around 0.185 grams. A heavy one will be over 0.2 grams.

Size of the Bee

Once again, we can break down the size of the bee based on their role within the hive. On average:

  • Worker bees. A worker bee is the smallest bee in the hive. It will be around 15 millimeters long.
  • Drones. The drones will be the same size as the queen bee, around 20 to 25 millimeters. However, there are a few important ways to tell them apart. The drone bee has larger eyes and will have a thicker abdomen than the queen.
  • Queens. These are some of the largest bees in the hive. It’s common for them to be 20 to 25 millimeters in size. She will often have smaller wings, as she isn’t used to flying for extended distances. She will also have a bigger abdomen. This is where she will keep the eggs.

Biggest Specie of Bee

There is a lot of variation in the world of bees. While most species will fall within the aforementioned sizes and weights, they don’t apply to every variety. The largest bee species in the world is known as the Megachile pluto.

This is native to Indonesia. It was thought to be extinct, although they have been a few confirmed sights recently. In this species, the size they achieve is based on their gender. In this case, females will reach 38 millimeters. The males will reach 23 millimeters.

Smallest Species of Bee

The smallest bees belong to a subset known as the Meliponini tribe. These are known for being born without stingers. Instead, they will use their jaws to attack when they feel threatened. This can cause the same pain as getting stung.

The smallest bees in the world are found primarily in Japan and Germany. In these countries, they are used as pollinators for greenhouses. These bees will measure between six and seven millimeters.

How Much Weight Can a Bee Lift?

Though they might be small, bees are very strong. According to studies, it’s estimated that a bee is capable of lifting 53 percent of its body weight. This means that the average worker bee will be able to lift 5.83 milligrams. However, there have been some times when they have been known to lift 100 percent of their body weight.

How Much Does a Typical Beehive Weigh?

While it’s interesting to know the size and weight of a bee, it isn’t where most beekeepers will focus. They will prefer to weigh the hive. This will allow them to monitor how healthy the colony is. How much the hive will weigh depends on a few factors. First, you’ll need to think about whether it is a natural or artificial hive. It’s also important to consider the number of bees in the colony. As a generality:

  • Natural hives. A small natural hive will weigh around 35 pounds. But it can get up to a little over 100 pounds.
  • Artificial hives. A small artificial hive will weigh around 80 pounds. On the upper limits, it can get up to 350 pounds.

How Many Bees Make up a Hive?

The number of bees that will be in the colony will depend on several factors. For example, the amount of food in the local area and the type of hive. The age of the hive will also play a role, older hives will be able to support a large population. The weight of the hive will fluctuate throughout the year. For example, numbers tend to decline during the winter but will grow during the summer.

Generally, though, a thriving beehive will contain around 60,000 bees. At some times, though, they might have a population as high as 80,000.

Why the Weight of a Beehive is Important

Many beekeepers will frequently measure the weight of their hives. There are a few reasons why they will do this:

  • Keep track of the population. The weight is a good way of estimating how many bees are in your colony. You’ll watch this fluctuate throughout the year. When the weight starts to stabilize and increase at the beginning of summer, it’s a sign that they are about to start producing honey. During the summer, a sudden weight decline indicates that they have swarmed. You’ll be able to follow these changes without the need for smoking.
  • Monitor honey production. Many beekeepers will note large weight increases during the busiest times of the year. Sometimes, it can be as dramatic as a gain of 30 pounds per day.  
  • Helping your bees through the winter. It’s common to notice a decline in the weight of your beehive during the winter months. This occurs as the bees will eat their honey reserves. By measuring the weight of your hive, you’ll know if they have enough reserves to get through or if you need to add some syrup.

Measuring the Weight of a Beehive

There are a few ways that a beekeeper can measure the weight of a beehive. First, they might tilt one side of the hive and slide a scale underneath it. They repeat this process on the other side of the hive and add the two measurements together. Alternatively, they might use a luggage screw, to lift each side of the ground.

A second option is to attach straps to the base of the hive. From there, they will be able to lift it into the air and slide the scales underneath. This will allow them to weigh the entire hive at once.

Finally, some people might use a counterweight. In this case, they are measuring the amount of weight it takes to lift the hive.

Final Thoughts

These bees are tiny animals. Each way is just a few inches and will weigh a fraction of a gram. But they can pack a big punch. Their hives will weigh a lot, they will be around 100 pounds, as thousands of them work to produce honey within.

About Grampa Beekeeper

Having spent a lifetime tending to bees, I now want to pass my knowledge onto the next generation of beekeepers. Beekeeping may not be fashionable, but it is my life long passion! From entrance excluders to packaged bee handling, I've got you covered! I'm not the best at writing, though, so bear with me!!

Leave a Comment