The queen bee belongs to one of the three castes of the genus of the hymenoptera. It has three distinguishing characteristics: it has a longer abdomen and a larger thorax than the others, moreover it is the only fertile female of the hive (also because its purpose is precisely to lay eggs).
In fact, the queen bee can be classified as the “mother” of both drones and worker bees. When a second queen bee is laid inside the hive, the worker bees kill the old queen by curling up (suffocating her); this also happens when the new queen bee is not recognized by the rest of the hive.
The queen bees are born from a fertilized egg laid in turn by another queen bee, in a royal cell that is distinguished from the others by its shape: while the normal cells are hexagonal in shape, the royal cell is in the shape of a dome where the new queen bee comes out of a hole, facing down. The queen bee among all types is the one that develops the fastest (16 days).
On the day of her birth, it is covered with “attention” by the worker bees who also push it to the famous nuptial flight, in fact the queen bees spend most of their time inside the hive in the first days of life and carry out this flight that causes the queen to mate with the drones releasing a particular pheromone that attracts them.
Once the queen bee is fertilized, the worker bees feed it only royal jelly (rich in proteins and sugars). The queen bee is able to live from 2 to 5 years based on the number of drones with which it mates during the nuptial flight.
FUNCTIONS OF THE QUEEN BEE:
As already specified at the beginning of this article, the queen bee plays a single real role within the hive: the laying of eggs.
In fact, it can lay between 2000 and 3000 eggs per day that can be of two types:
- those fertilized (from these the worker bees will be born)
- those without seed (drones will be born from these instead). In the event that the queen bee is no longer able to lay any fertilized eggs, we speak of a fucaiola opening that is able to generate only drones.
Another task performed by the queen bee is to produce pheromones that regulate all the activity inside the hive: pheromones are particular smells that are able to balance all the activities of the worker bees.
Fun fact: did you know that queen bees fight each other? Well yes! They fight for the position of queen; in fact, every time more bees are created with this function they fight with their stinger until only one remains