A Worker Bee Sipping Water From A Leaf
A worker bee is any female (eusocial) bee that lacks the full reproductive capacity of the colony's queen bee. Worker bees occur in many bee species other than honey bees, but this is by far the most familiar colloquial use of the term.
In most common bee species, worker bees are infertile due to enforced altruistic kin selection, and thus never reproduce. Workers are nevertheless considered female for anatomical and genetic reasons. Genetically, a worker bee does not differ from a queen bee and can even become a laying worker bee, but in most species will produce only male (drone) offspring. Whether a larva becomes a worker or a queen depends on the kind of food it is given after the first three days of its larval form.