Egg size

The length of an egg is 1.49±0.12 (range 1.12 - 1.85) mm [1]. The width of an egg is 0.35±0.02 (range 0.30 - 0.40) mm [1]. The volume of an egg is 0.10±0.02 (range 0.06 - 0.15) cubic mm [1]. Size of eggs varies markedly [2][3][4][5]. It changes with age, first it decrease but immediately before hatching of larvae it increases [1]. Size of eggs differs between subspecies and between queens of the same subspecies [6][1][7]. Eggs of laying workers have different shape and are more variable in size than eggs of queens [8]. Fertilized and unfertilized eggs do not differ in size [9][7].
The weight of an egg is ranges from 0.12 to 0.22 mg [6]. Weight of egg decreases about 30% during its incubation [10][1]. The egg weight is in part determined genetically [6][11].


  1. Woyke J. (1998) Size change of Apis mellifera eggs during the incubation period. Journal of Apicultural Research 37:239-246.
  2. Schnetter M. (1934) Morphologische untersuchungen über das differenzierungszentrum in der embryonal-entwicklung der honigbiene. Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Ökologie der Tiere 29:114–195.
  3. DuPraw E.J. (1960) Research on the honey bee egg. Gleanings in Bee Culture 88:104-111.
  4. Krol E. (1996) Egg Weight variability in honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens. Pszczelnicze Zeszyty Naukowe 40:33-44.
  5. Al-Kahtani S.N., Wegener J., Bienefeld K. (2013) Variability of prenatal maternal investment in the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Journal of Entomology 10:35-42.
  6. Taber S., Roberts W.C. (1963) Egg weight variability and its inheritance in the honey bee. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 56:473-476.
  7. Gencer H.V., Woyke J. (2006) Eggs from Apis mellifera caucasica laying workers are larger than from queens. Journal of Apicultural Research 45:173-179.
  8. Woyke J. (1994) Comparison of the size of eggs from Apis mellifera L queens and laying workers. Apidologie 25:179-187.
  9. Henderson C.E. (1992) Variability in the size of emerging drones and of drone and worker eggs in honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies. Journal of Apicultural Research 31:114-118.
  10. DuPraw E.J. (1967) The honeybee embryo. in: Wilt F., Wessels N. (Ed.), Methods in developmental biology. Crowell Press, New York, pp. 183-217.
  11. Roberts W.C., Taber S. (1965) Egg-weight variance in honey bees. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 58:303-306.