Bees go through complete metamorphosis from egg to larvae to pupae to adult. They have a complex social structure.
The hive is made up of a honeycomb structure, produced by the worker bees, that creates cells into which the queen lays a single egg. Some cells are used to store honey and pollen. Once the egg has hatched the larvae are cared for by worker bees until they are ready to pupate. The cell is then sealed and after about a week the adult bee will emerge.
In spring and early summer bees will swarm in order to produce new colonies. This swarm is made up of the existing queen and most of her worker bees from the old hive. Prior to leaving, the old queen lays eggs which will hatch into females, one of which will become the new queen. Prospective queen bee larvae are fed a special diet comprising pollen, nectar and what is called royal jelly, whereas worker larvae are only fed a standard diet. In order to become queen the females fight to the death or, if one has emerged before the others, she will kill the others while they are still pupating. This new queen is able to produce male offspring but in order to produce females which will become the infertile worker bees she needs to mate. She will mate with a number of drones soon after hatching and then spend her entire life producing eggs.
Worker bees have a lifespan of usually only a few weeks to several months. The queen can live up to eight years, but the average is from three to five years.