She’s the most recognizable (sometimes!) bee in the hive. She’s the hive mom. She’s the Queen Bee.
There’s one Queen Bee per hive. She’s the largest in the hive (just look for the long abdomen) and she has two very important roles: fertilization and pheromone production.
Let’s talk about fertilization…
The Queen Bee is the only female in the hive with the ability to reproduce due to her fully formed ovaries. The Queen Bee moves regally (slowly) through the hive to find polished cells. Once she finds a clean cell, she measures it with her front legs to determine which type of egg she’ll lay. Assuming the cell has been built to spec, she hovers her abdomen over the cell and releases one egg.
The Queen Bee controls the sex of the egg and will fertilize it or not based on the cell size. A fertilized egg develops into a worker while an unfertilized egg becomes a drone. While the Queen Bee has the option to fertilize an egg, it’s the size of the cell that dictates which kind of egg she’ll lay. Cells are made larger to accommodate drones.
Let’s talk about pheromones…
The Queen Bee, while laying all those eggs, also produces pheromones that serve as colony messengers. Her Ladies-In-Waiting continuously groom the Queen Bee with their antenna and then groom themselves and others. The pheromones pass through the colony this way.
The pheromones act as a defense against intruders/robbers who do not have the colony’s pheromonal smell.
The Queen Bee needs the Workers as much as they need her…
The Queen Bee needs help from the workers to build the honeycomb cells, clean or polish those cells, and build correctly sized cells so she knows which egg to release.
#beekeeping101 #QueenBee #TheOriginalHBH