The lifecycle of a bee is a little different for workers, drones, and queens, however, the basic principle stays the same. Egg, larvae, pupa, mature bee.
Here’s a handy chart to point out the time differences based on bee class.
You’ll notice worker bees are never fertile – they do not go on mating flights but can lay eggs. These eggs are, thus, infertile and will mature to be drones.
These timelines become extremely important in managing your hive. Once you learn the timelines for each type of bee, you can begin to suspect queenlessness more quickly, can help the bees recover by providing them with freshly laid eggs from a queen-right hive or young larvae to create their own queen. If your hive has failed to produce their own queen, it’s important to help them correct their mistake or they will fail.
This video shows you the lifecycle of a bee better than anything we could describe – check out this TED Talk from Anand Varma and his powerful video: