Telomerase is an enzyme that adds repeats of DNA sequences to the ends of chromosomes, thereby preventing their shortening. Telomerase activity is associated with proliferative status of cells, organismal development, and aging. We report an analysis of telomerase activity and telomere length in the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Telomerase activity was found to be regulated in a development and caste-specific manner. During the development of somatic tissues of larval drones and workers, telomerase activity declined to 10 % of its level in embryos and remained low during pupal and adult stages but was upregulated in testes of late pupae, where it reached 70 % of the embryo level. Upregulation of telomerase activity was observed in the ovaries of late pupal queens, reaching 160 % of the level in embryos. Compared to workers and drones, queens displayed higher levels of telomerase activity. In the third larval instar of queens, telomerase activity reached the embryo level, and an enormous increase was observed in adult brains of queens, showing a 70-fold increase compared to a brain of an adult worker. Southern hybridization of terminal TTAGG fragments revealed a high variability of telomeric length between different individuals, although the same pattern of hybridization signals was observed in different tissues of each individual.