It’s easy to pass off bees as nothing more than picnic ruining nuisances, but their efficient pollination is invaluable. They’re also the only insects to produce food eaten by humans, so we owe them a lot. As well as being extremely useful, bees have an intriguingly complex home life. From the queen at the top to the workers clearing out the hive at the bottom, honeybees are truly incredible. Every western honeybee in a hive or nest shares a mother: the queen. In winter, a colony may consist of 5,000 bees, but in the height of summer this swells to around 35,000 of the highly social insects. A few hundred of this summer population are male drones, but the vast majority are female. These daughters are worker bees, the hard-working, sterile caste that keeps the entire colony safe and fed.