First 21 Days Of Bee’s Life Revealed in one minute Timelapse

Witness the eerily beautiful growth of larvae into bees in this mesmerizing timelapse video from photographer Anand Varma.

He teamed up with the bee lab at UC Davis and set a small piece of brood comb in the incubator, and rigged up a contraption that would allow his camera to photograph the same cell for a week at a time.

First 21 Days Of Bee’s Life Revealed

“I couldn’t really photograph one bee for the whole 21 days of its life cycle, so I broke it up and I tried to capture each transformation that happens,” he says.

TED Talk by Anand Varma explaining the timelapse video

As with any experiment, there were challenges. The first few tries, the humidity levels weren’t right. And then the first timelapse he got revealed an ant infestation—all he had were photos of ants eating bee larvae.


Pigment develops in the eyes of a bee pupa. Credits: Anand Verma

“Once it started to work, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is going to be the coolest thing ever if I can show every part of this process.’”

In 6 months and after several tries Varma got enough footage to compile an incredible timelapse video of a honeybee’s development.


Bee larvae develop into pupae. Credits: Anand Verma

Varma talks (in his ted talk) about the emotional connection he’d develop through taking care of the honeybees. “That was the coolest part!” he remembers. “I could see the queen wandering around and laying eggs. I could see the bees coming in and doing their waggle dance to teach their sisters where there’s food. There was all kinds of drama that I had no idea goes on in a hive!”

Anand Varma’s photographs of bees are featured in the May issue of National Geographic.

1 Comment

  • ashish rao says:

    Wow is too less an expression for the kind of work that you have done.i am a great admirer of timelapse technology and you have put it to superb use. Being an alumnus of manipal university whichbis located 65 kms from mangalore in karnataka, invite you to shoot at manipal university campus. My email is here anyways.
    So good lucks wirh more videos and I hope you get the highest award in photography. Happy shooting!

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