Lifespan is how long a queen will live. Each lifespan has a set amount of Cycles, and each cycle is 27.5 seconds long. A normal lifespan will last 40 cycles, or 18 minutes 20 seconds, whereas a Shorter lifespan will last only 20 cycles, or 9 minutes 10 seconds.
Once each cycle ends, the queen will produce their product based on percentage chance. For example, if the queen produces honeycomb at a 40% chance, then every 27.5 seconds there is a 40% chance to get a honeycomb.
When the lifecycle is over, the queen will die and produce one Princess and a number of Drones, determined by the fertility rating. Most queens will produce two Drones, but there are some that produce up to four, and even some that only produce a single Drone. Ignoble Queens don't produce a princess after many generations. Pristine always produce a Princess.
Speed is a bit of a misnomer. It doesn’t actually speed up anything. Rather, it gives a bonus (or penalty) to the percentage chance of production. A speed rating of Normal gives no Bonus or penalty, while a Faster rating gives a +40% increased chance and a Slow Rating gives a -20% penalty.
Bees with short or worse lifespans are best for breeding a lot of Drones, while bees with fast or better lifespans are best for drop production. The Wintry Bee is extremely good at producing spare Drones, having 4 Fertility and Short lifespan. Similarly, the Doctoral Bee has a Normal speed but the Longest lifespan, making it a good workhorse.