Finally we have the aptly named worker-bee, on whom devolves the entire labour of the colony.
The worker-bee is incapable of egg-production and can therefore take no part in the perpetuation of its species, so that individually its value to the community is infinitesimal.
The mission of the worker-bee is work; not so much for itself as for the younger members of the community to which it belongs.
The bee-keeper's object is to utilize to the utmost the brief space of a worker-bee's life in summer, by adopting the best methods in vogue for building up stocks to full strength before the honey-gathering time begins, and preparing for it by the exercise of skill and intelligence in carrying out this work.
Then so far as regards longevity, the period of a worker-bee's existence is not measured by numbering its days but simply by wear and tear, the marvellous intricacy and wonderful perfection of its framework being so delicate in construction that after six or seven weeks of strenuous toil, such as the bee undergoes in summer time, the little creature's labour is ended by a natural death.