Once the brood comb is prepared, the queen lays one honey bee egg in each cell. Estimates vary widely as to how many eggs a queen can lay, but 1500-2000 per day is a reasonable assumption. Over the course of one spring and summer season, the queen probably reaches a maximum of about 200,000 eggs.
When first laid, the eggs are about 1/16 inch long (1.6 mm) and a pearly translucent white. Oddly, they stand on end in the cell. Gradually, within the first day, they tip to one side and lie prone at the base of the cell. After about three days, the chorion—the membrane coating the egg—dissolves and the new larva is exposed.
Keeping the eggs warm
Honey bees keep the brood nest at a constant temperature that ranges from about 91-97° F (33-36° C). This phenomenon is unique in the insect world and requires large populations. If the population isn’t large enough to care for all the brood and keep them warm, the queen will slow the rate of egg laying, and the workers may eat some of the eggs.
The excellent photograph below shows the eggs standing upright in the cells. In the upper left you can see larvae floating in pools of milky-colored royal jelly.
Honey Bee Suite